This unusual surname is of Norman origin, and is a locational name from Eschalles, a place in Pas-de-Calais, which gets its name from the plural form of the Old French "eschelle", ladder, ultimately from the Latin "scala". The name was introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066, the first recorded namebearer (below) being a follower of William the Conqueror, who had been granted lands in England. Early examples of the surname include: Henry de Shallers, noted in the Knights' Templars Records of Hertfordshire, dated 1153; Geoffrey de Chaliers (Cambridgeshire, 1203), and Thomas de Chalers (Cambridgeshire, 1340). In 1524, one Thomas Chales was entered in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. In the modern idiom the name is spelt: Challis, Challiss, Challice, Chalice and Challes. The marriage of John Challes to Alice Vicary took place in Taunton, Somerset, in 1625, and on April 10th 1626, Henery Challes and Alse Williams were married at St. Martin-Vintry, London. James Challis (1803 - 1882), the renowned astronomer, was director of the Cambridge Observatory, 1836 - 1861, and observed Neptune, without knowing it, on August 4th 1846. A Coat of Arms granted to the Challes family of Bresse, Savoie, East France, is a silver shield with a black cross moline. Silver signifies Peace and Sincerity, and black denotes Constancy. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Scalers, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book, during the reign of King William 1, known as "William The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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