This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname from either of the places called Worsley in Lancashire and in Worcestershire. The place in Lancashire was recorded as "Werkesleia" in 1196, and means "Weorchaeth's wood or glade", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Weorchaeth", from "weorc", work, fortification, and "leah", a wood, or clearing in a wood. The place in Worcestershire means "pasture for cattle", derived from the Olde English "weorf", meaning "draught cattle", and "leah", as before. This placename was recorded as "Werveslega" in 1150. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Recordings from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Charles Worsley and Jane Noblet on August 22nd 1550, in Kirkham, Lancashire, and the christening of Wylliam, son of Thomas Worsley, on October 11th 1584, at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London. Charles Worsley (1622 - 1656) was lieutenant-colonel of a regiment raised in Lancashire for Cromwell in 1650, and commanded the men used in the expulsion of the Long Parliament in 1652. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de Wyrkesle, which was dated 1246, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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