This interesting surname is of Old French origin, introduced into Britain after the Norman Conquest of 1066, 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. Early recordings include: Eudo del Bayle in the 1301 Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire, and John Bayl, in the 1382 Feet of Fines of Sussex. In modern times the surname can be found recorded as Bail, Bayle, Bale, Baile, Baiyle, Bailes, Bails, and Bayles, the latter plural forms being almost certainly shortened patronymics. Other recordings include Thomas Bale of Suffolk in 1524, the christening of Audrey Bale on June 13th 1539, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and the christening of Jhone, son of Thome Bale, on March 11th 1559, at St. Michael's, Wood Street, also London. An interesting recording is that of Hanna Baile, aged 20 yrs., a famine emigrant, who sailed from Liverpool aboard the ship 'Sardinia' bound for New York in May 1846. The Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name is per pale green and red a gold eagle displayed, the Crest being a red demi lion sustaining a gold broken spear. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Baille, which was dated 1190, the register of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "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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