Recorded in several spellings including Ealles, Eeles, Eales, Eallis, Eilles, Ellce, Ells, and possibly others, this is an English surname. Introduced into Northern Europe by returning Crusaders and pilgrims to the Holy land in the 12th century, it was of biblical origins. It derives from Elis given as being the Greek form of the Hebrew Eliyahu (Elijah) meaning "Jehovah is God". This name was borne by an early prophet, but it's popularity among Christians in the Middle Ages was as a result of St Elias of Caesarea, martyrd by the Romans in the 3rd century. The surname is early 13th Century, (see below), and other examples include William Elis in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1202, and Roger Elys of Essex in 1309, and recorded in the Calendar of Documents in the possession of the Warden and Fellows of New College, Oxford. Church register recordings of the city of London include Rycharde Eales who married Phillis Staueleye on September 21st 1584, at St. Michael's, Cornhill, and Robert Elles, christened on November 20th 1652, at St. Olaves, Southwark. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Elyas. This was dated 1200, in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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