This unusual surname has an interesting history, being a derivative of the Old French pre 1066, given name "Vitel", itself a derivative of the Latin "Vitalis" meaning full of life, vital. The personal name appears as Fidele (circa 1077) in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and as Vitalis, Vitel, and Fitel in the Domesday Book of 1086. "Vitel" was a baptismal nickname which was a term of endearment, and probably given to a much-wanted child. The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below). There are many modern spellings of the name including Vidal, Vital, Fidall and Fittall. Recordings of the variant forms from London Church Registers include the marriage of Alice Fydell to John Saunders on January 28th 1576 at St. Bartholomew the Less and the marriage of Ralph Fidall to Elline Wilsson on February 12th 1586 at St. Katherine by the Tower. On May 9th 1698 Joseph, son of Henry and Elizabeth Fidal, was christened at Elsham, Lincolnshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Radulfus Fitele, which was dated 1175, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", 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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