The SHURLEY family of Earl Ferrers are said to be descended from a certain Sewallis (died 1129) holder of the manor of Shirley in Derbyshire. His grandfather, Sewallis who died in 1085, had held lands in Northants, Lincoln and Derbyshire. It was a locational name 'of Shirley', a place name in the Counties of Derbyshire and Surrey. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Other records of the name mention William de Schirle of the County of Yorkshire in 1219. Johannes de Scherlay, of Yorkshire listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. George Sherlye of the County of Leicestershire, was registered at Oxford University in 1573. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. There is Shirley Rectory in Croydon, England, where the shirley poppy was cultivated and first produced. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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