This name, with variant spellings Baylis, Bayless and Bailess is of occupational origin for a steward or official. It derives from the Middle English 'bail(l)i', a development of the Old French 'baillis'. In Scotland the word survives as 'bailie', the title of a chief magistrate for a part of a county or barony. The word survives in England as 'bailiff', an officer who serves writs and summonses for the court. The surname was first recorded in the middle of the 16th Century (see below). One Samuel Baylles appears in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York (1635). On August 13th 1750, John Bayliss married Sarah Mitchell in St. George's, Mayfair, Westminster, London. One Ann Bayliss was christened on February 5th 1759 in St. Sepulchre, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Baillis, which was dated 1547, in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York, during the reign of Queen Mary 1, 'Mary Queen of Scots', 1553-1558. 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.
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