Despite its French appearance, this name is wholly English, but with the medieval preposition "de", a Norman introduction after the 1066 Conquest. This preposition originally indicated both land ownership and aristocratic status, similar to the same word in French, and "von" in German. Hailes is a habitational name from the village of Hailes in Gloucestershire, the origin is Ancient British (pre-Roman), and describes a polluted river. The variant spelling forms include Hails, Hales, Hayles and Hallas (a Yorkshire form). Clearly, some nameholders descend from the Olde English "halh", meaning "a small enclosed valley", or the Northern version which is "dry land surrounded by water in a fen district". Early recordings of the name include: Morus de la Hales, in Kent (1214), and John del Hale, of Hertfordshire, in the 1214 Curia Regis Rolls. On December 22nd 1573, James Hailes was a witness at the christening of his daughter, Anne, at St. Peter's Cornhill, London, whilst, on October 22nd 1580, Johan Hailes (female) married Nicholas Dannyell at Bamfield, Hertfordshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Hales, which was dated 1180, in the "Pipe Rolls of Shropshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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