This name has been around since at least the 14thCentury. It was first recorded as Arkleyslond in 1332 and later as Arcleylond in 1436 and Arkeley in 1547. The origins have been lost but David Mills in A Dictionary of London Place Names offers this suggestion: “Taking into account a local field name Erkefordemad 1332, it looks likely that the first element of both names is Old English (e)arc ‘an ark, a chest, a bin or other receptacle, especially perhaps one used when fishing’ (it is the word found in the surname Arkwright ‘a maker of arks’). Thus, Arkley would then be ‘woodland clearing by the ark, or ‘where arks are made’, from the Old English lēah with the addition of land ‘cultivated ground’, and the 14th-century field name would be ‘meadow at the ark ford’, with Old English ford and mœd. There are various streams in the neighbourhood, one of them crossed by Arkley Lane which is Atcleylane in 1436, from Old English lane.” So it may refer to a meadow where closed baskets (then called arks) were made from wickers or reeds.
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