Recorded as Farley, Farleigh, and Furley, this is an English surname. It is locational from any of the various places in England called Farley or Farleigh, such as those in Berkshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire, and Staffordshire or from Furley in Devonshire. In all cases the placenames are derived from the Olde English pre 7th century word "fearn", meaning the fern weed, and "leah", a fenced clearing or farm, and hence a fern covered clearing. Farley Hill in Berkshire was first recorded as Farellei" in the Domesday Book of 1086; the place in Derbyshire was first recorded as "Farleie" in the Domesday Book; and the place in Hampshire was first recorded as "Ferlege", also in the Domesday Book. Farley in Staffordshire was first recorded as "Fernelege" in the Domesday Book of the county, and as "Farleye" in "Inquisitiones post mortem", dated 1273. Early examples of the surname include Richard de Farlegh of Oxford in 1222, and John Ferleye of Worcestershire in 1322. In the early records of the new colonies of America, Thomas Farley, and his wife Jane, were recorded in the 'Muster of the Inhabitants of Virginea, in January 1624'. They had arrived on the ship "Ann" in 1623. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Ferlecheia. This was dated 1189, in the Medieval Records of Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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