This interesting surname is of Old French origin, introduced into Britain after the Norman Conquest, and is either a topographical name for someone who lived by a wall of the outer court of a feudal castle, or a metonymic occupational name for a guardian of the courts or bailey, and derives from the Middle English, Old French "bail(e)" meaning the wall of the outer court of a feudal castle. The surname dates back to the late 12th Century, (see below). Early recordings include Eudo del Bayle (1301) in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire, and John Bayl (1382) in the Feet of Fines of Sussex.The surname can also be found as Baile and Bail. London Church Records include the christenings of Audrey Bale on the 13th June 1539 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and Jhone, son of Thome Bale, on the 11th March 1559 at St. Michael's, Wood Street. One Hanna Baile, aged 20 yrs., a famine emigrant; sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Sardinia" bound for New York on the 20th May 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Baille, which was dated circa 1190, in the History of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, during the reign of King Richard 1st - The Lionheart, 1189-1199. 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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