- A courtyard within castle walls
- An old occupation name, which means steward or public official
- Commonly used as a last name/surname or given name for both boys and girls
- Surname famous for George Bailey, the fictional character in the 1946 Christmas film, “It’s a Wonderful Life”
The history of the name Bailey
As to the derivation of the name Bailey, authorities differ. There are those who get it from the same root as bail and bailiff, namely, the old French word bailler or bailer, meaning to deliver or give up.
Bailey, as a term in architecture, is said to be a corruption of ballium, or from the French bailie, which, in turn, is a corruption of bataille, a place where soldiers drill in battle array, or the open lines of a fortification.
The Inner and Outer Bailey often play important parts in old English novels, do they not? There is the Old Bailey at London and York, and the Upper and Nether Bailey at Colchester.
The name Bailey as a surname is probably from the town Bailii, in the arrondissement of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Bailie is also a township in Cumberland, England, and Bailey the name of one in Lancashire, England.
The spelling of the name has never been uniform. In France, the usual orthography is Bailly; in Scotland, Baillie; and in England and America, Baily, Bailey and Bayley.
The Baileys have been prominent in the history of Great Britain and seated at Sheffield, Bristol, Berkshire and Nottingham; also at Glasgow and on the banks of the Clyde, in Lanarkshire.