This most interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and originated as a nickname for a frisky or restless person, but was also used in the 14th Century as a derogatory nickname for a person who was rough, ragged or shaggy, from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "fola", a foal, young horse. The name is an example of the sizeable group of early European surnames which were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. Nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of features, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress and occupation. The surname itself first appears in the late 12th Century (see below) in Warwickshire, while one Reginald Fole is mentioned in 1279 in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Thomas Foell and Casia Langford on July 1st 1666 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney; the christening of Hannah, daughter of John and Ann Foell, on July 19th 1684 at St. Martin in the Fields; and the christening of Ester, daughter of William and Ann Foale, on March 14th 1831 at Old Church, St. Pancras. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Fole, which was dated 1193, in the "Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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