Recorded as Windley, Wendley, Winley, Wenley, Wenly, and others, this is an English locational surname. It originates from a place called Windley, a village near Belper in Derbyshire. This place is first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as Winleg, which translates not as a windy place, although that would be quite logical for Derbyshire, but a meadow (winn) in a forest glade (leah). The precise meaning is probably fenced grazing land in the forest. This village was later in the year 1297 recorded as 'Wynleye' not adopting the modern form until the 16th century. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original village to move somewhere else. Spelling over the centuries being at best erratic and local dialects very thick often lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings. In this case the surname is well recorded in the city of London, and early recordings include John Wenley who married Agnes Upton at St Margarets Westminster, on July 13th 1551, and William Windley at St Botolphs without Aldgate, on May 31st 1630.
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