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MANLEY Family History

This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and can be either a locational or a topographical surname. If locational, the name derives from one of the two places called Manley in Devonshire and Cheshire. The placename means "the common wood", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "(ge)maene", common, shared, and "leah", a wood, or glade in a wood. The meaning is a wood for the use of all, as in our modern "commons", shared land available to all the people. Locational surnames were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace...

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