This is an English locational surname, recorded in the spellings of Bigley, Bigly and Biglay. The origin is believed to be from an now "lost" medieval village called "Bigg-leah" or similar. This derivation is from the pre 7th century Old English words Bigg meaning big, or as a short form of Biggins, a building, to give a translation of either "the building in the enclosure" or possibly "the big enclosure". An enclosure in the context of a village name, means an area of forest cleared for agriculture. As to where such a village may have been is unclear, but the surname is well recorded both in Yorkshire and London from the early 17th century. Examples of the name recordings taken from authentic surviving church registers of the post medieval period include Edward Bigley, who married Francis Smith at St Botolphs, Bishopgate, London, on April 6th 1649, and Elizabeth Bigley, the daughter of Richard Bigley, christened at Holy Trinity, Goodramgate, York, on October 18th 1691. The first known recording may be that of Joane Biglay, christened at Howden, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, on March 21st 1604. This was in the first year of the reign of James 1st of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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