Recorded in many spelling forms including: Eales, Ealles, Eeles, Eales, Eallis, Ellce, Ells, Eyles, and others, this is an English surname, but of Greek and biblical origins. It is derived from the medieval given name Elis, the Greek form of the Hebrew Elijah, meaning "Jehovah is God". This name was borne by a prophet, but it's popularity among Christians in the Middle Ages was from two sources. The first from the famous Crusades, when knights returning from their many efforts to free the Holy Land from the Muslims, would give their children names associated with Greece and the Bible, and secondly because it was a saints name. These included a 7th Century bishop of Syracuse and a 9th Century Spanish martyr. The surname in England dates back to the early 13th Century, (see below), and early recordings include: William Elis in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire, for the year 1202, whilst Roger Elys of Essex is recorded in documents in the possession of the Warden of New College, Oxford, in 1230 a.d. Later recordings from the registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Rycharde Eales, who married Phillis Staueleye on September 21st 1584, at St. Michael's church, Cornhill, and Robert, son of Robert Eles, who was 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 of England, 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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