- This unusual habitational name derives from a now "lost" village in the former West Riding of Yorkshire but now effectively in Lancashire. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Toeta" or its Norse-Viking equivalent "Teitr" meaning "Cheerful" plus the suffix "leah" - a wood or clearing. There are an estimated 7000 such "lost" sites in Britain and Ireland, some cleared by plague, but mostly the clearance was to enable "Sheep Farming" to take place. The inhabitants displaced, often had only a vague idea as to the spelling of their former village name, from which they took their surname, hence the variety of spelling, as in this case; Tetley, Titley, Tetla, Tetlow and Tettley. The name recordings include Reginald Tetlawe of Godley (1649), Edward Tetla of Oldham (1675) and Abraham Tetley of Rochdale (1690). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Tyttelegh, which was dated 1539, in the East Cheshire Parish Records, during the reign of King Henry Vlll, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.