Recorded as Yardley and Yeardley, this is an English surname. It is locational from any of various places in England called Yardley in Essex, Warwickshire, and Northamptonshire, or possibly Yarley in Somerset, or Yeardsley, near New Mills in Derbyshire. The name derives from the Olde English 'gerd' or 'gyrd' meaning a holding of thirty acres and 'leah' a wood or clearing - and may be translated as'one who dwelled in a cleared area of land suitable for agriculture.' In the modern idiom the name has three spelling variations Yeardley, and Yar(d)ley. The name was spelt initially with a 'G' then with an 'E' William de Erdeleg 1229, The Pipe Rolls of Hertfordshire. It appears with an initial 'J' in 1280 in Worcestershire and with a 'Y' in 1327. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Gerdelai. which was dated 1199, Court pleas records of Nottingham. during the reign of Richard I, Richard the Lionheart, 1189 - 1199. 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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