The surname of MEDLEY was a habitation name from a place so called on the River Thames in Oxford. The name was originally derived from the elements MIDDEL (middle) and EG (island), literally meaning the dweller on the island on the river. It was also occasionally used as a nickname for an aggressive person, rendered originally in the Latin form MISCULATA meaning 'conflict' Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. Early records of the name mention Simon atte Midele, who was documented in County Somerset during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). John Medley registered at Oxford University in the year 1578, and George Medley and Elizabeth Constance were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1792. The associated coat of arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Buxted, County Sussex, descended from Benedict Medley, Clerk of the Signet to Henry VIII. When the first immigrants from Europe went to America, the only names current in the new land were Indian names which did not appeal to Europeans vocally, and the Indian names did not influence the surnames or Christian names already possessed by the immigrants. Mostly the immigrant could not read or write and had little or no knowledge as to the proper spelling, and their names suffered at the hands of the government officials. The early town records are full of these mis-spelt names most of which gradually changed back to a more conventional spelling as education progressed.
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