This surname KEIGHTLY was of two-fold origin. It was a baptismal and a locational name, meaning 'the son of Kelt', an ancient although now forgotten personal name, and it also meant the dweller by the 'cyte' one who lived in a shed or hut, denoting a herdsman, one who looked after the cattle. The name is also spelt KEIGHT and KEIGHTLEY. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. The small villages of Europe or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings gave rise to many family names which reflected the occupation or profession of the origin bearer of the name. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Ailnoo Kete, who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday book. Other records of the name mention William Ket who was documented in the year 1273 in County Norfolk, and Peter le Kyte of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Keate of County Hereford, registered at Oxford University in 1575. Jeremiah James married Anne Keate at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1789. A notable member of the name was Thomad KEIGHTLEY (1789-1872) the Irish writer, born in Dublin. In 1824 he settled in London. His histories of Rome, Greece and England long held their place as school manuals, and his 'Fairy Mythology' (1850) is among his best works.
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