This unusual name, with variant spellings Yaxley, Yoakely and Yoakley, is of English locational origin either from Yaxley in the former county of Huntingdon or from Yaxley in Suffolk. The former place, recorded as "Geaceslea" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the date 963, and as "Lacheslea" in the Domesday Book of 1086 is so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "geaces" meaning "cuckoo", plus "leah", a wood or clearing. The latter, recorded as "Lachelea" in the Domesday Book, shares the same meaning and derivation. The surname is particularly well recorded in Church Registers of Suffolk and London from the mid 16th Century. In 1578, Richard Yexley and Agnes Hern were married in Icklingham, Suffolk. Margret Yexley and Henry Grantham were married in St. Gregory by St. Paul's, London on July 30th 1635 and on December 29th 1656, one Margaret Yoakely married a James Hind in St. Katherine by the Tower, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Yaxley, which was dated 1543, marriage to Thomas Sherman, recorded in the Yaxley Church Register, Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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