The surname of TOOLEY is of three-fold origin. It was a baptismal name 'the son of Toly' a nickname from the immense favourite of Bartholomew. It was also from a place so called, a hamlet in the parish of Peckleton, County Leicestershire. Local names usually denoted where the original bearer of the name held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. It was also an occupational name 'a tax-gatherer'. 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, as is the case here.
Early records of the name mention Tolle le grangier who was documented in the year 1218 in County Lancashire, and Roger Tolle appears in County Nottinghamshire in the year 1250. Nicholas Richard Tolle was recorded in 1275 in County Warwickshire. Richard Tulegh appears during the reign of Edward 111. (1327-1377) in County Somerset, Thomas Towle, County Yorkshire, 1400. Edward Toweler of Hereford, married Mary Howe, in London in the year 1595. Edmund Tooley wed Jane Bayle at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1631.Thomas Quinney married Ann Towler at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1788
The name has many variant spellings which include Tolle, Towler and Towll.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Tole)
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