Last name origins & meanings:
- English: habitational name from Raleigh in Devon, recorded in
Domesday Book as Radeleia, from Old English rēad
‘red’ + lēah ‘wood’, ‘clearing’.
- The English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (1554–1618) was born in
Hayes Barton, Devon, into a family of Devon gentry. He was related to
most of the West Country’s important families, including that of Sir
Francis Drake. His half-brother was the explorer Sir Humphrey
Gilbert. In 1578 Raleigh was granted a patent to explore and colonize “unknown lands” in America.
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