This interesting name is the usual Scottish form of the medieval English surname 'Bailey', which is an occupational surname for a steward or official. The name derives from the Middle English 'baili, bailli', a development of the Old French 'baillis', or 'bailif', from the Latin 'baiulivus', a derivative of 'baiulus', carrier, porter. The term is still used in Scotland, as the 'baillie', to describe the chief magistrate of a barony or part of a county, a sheriff. In England the term survives as 'bailiff', an officer who serves writs and summonses and ensures that court orders are carried out. The earliest record of the name in Scotland is in 1311, when one William de Bailli appears as a juror on an inquest in Lothian (Scottish Documents in the Public Record Office). He is thought to be the ancestor of the family which acquired the lands of Lamington, one of the principal branches of the Baillie family today; others are those of Jerviswood, Polkemmet and Dochfour. The marriage of James Baillie and Christian Crawford was recorded in Edinburgh on November 26th 1669. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger le Baylly, which was dated 1230, The Suffolk Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111, 'The Frenchman', 1216-1272. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017