This interesting surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, is a locational name from any of the various places so called. Several, in particular those in Hampshire, Kent and Devonshire, derive their names from the Olde English pre 7th Century "heort", hart, plus "leah" meaning "wood" or "clearing". The one in Northumberland derives its second element from the Olde English "hlaw" meaning "hill", and the one in Cumberland contains the Olde English "cla", claw, in the sense of a tongue of land between two streams, with an uncertain first element.
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