This unusual name is of Old English pre 7th Century origins and translate's as the dweller at (either) "The island (eg) of Stags" (heahcleor) or more probably "The fenced farm (leah) of the stags (heahdeor)". The villages now called high and low Etherley in North Yorkshire have this origin and may be the "home" of the present surname. The first recording of the surname is as shown below in London and the name is recorded there on a rare, although regular basis throughout the 17th Century. Examples include Richard Ethersey who married a Mary Witcom on January 1st 1658, at St. Petes church, Pauls Wharf, whilst in 1713, Hugh Ethersey was a witness at St. Paul's, Convent Garden. In 1756, the name appears suddenly at Kempsey, Worcester, when Jame's Ethersey married Mary Price Worcester, on March 1st of that year. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Eatharsay, which was dated September 27th 1643, a witness at St. Bride's Church, Fleet Street, London, during the reign of King Charles 1, "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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.