Recorded in many spellings forms including Wycherley, Wickersley, Whicherley, Witcherley, and Witcharley, this is an English medieval surname. It is locational and according to an entry (undated) in Burkes General Armoury was recorded as Wycherley of Wicherley in Salop (Shropshire) with the blazon of per pale silver and black, three eagles displayed counterchanged. This entry would suggest that original nameholders were the lords of the manor. This entry wopuld suggest that the original spelling of the surname was with an "i", the spelling form with a "y" seemingly being a later and possibly 18th century affectation, to attempt to revive what might have been an early English spelling. However no such place as Wicherley or Wycherley or anything like it, seems to exist as a place name, and therefore it is presumably one of the many "lost" medieval villages. This in itself is not entirely unusual, perhaps as many as three thousand locational surnames of the British Isles are believed to derive from places, whose only memory survives in the existing surname. The make up of the name does suggest that it is from the Olde English pre 7th century words 'wice' and 'leah', meaning the clearing in the elm wood. Early examples of the surname taken from surviving registers and charters of Shropshire include: Symon Witcharley of Waters Upton, on December 28th 1566, and Thomas Wickerley of Weston under Redcastle, on July 7th 1571. William Wycherley (1640 - 1715) was a famous dramatist. He was born at Clive in Cheshire, and after education at Oxford University, had his first play 'Love in St James Park' produced in London in 1671. This perhaps not surprisingly, secured for him the 'intimacy' of the Duchess of Cleveland, the premier mistress at the time, of King Charles 11 (1160 - 1685).
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