Recorded in many forms including Fallis, Faltus, Fawlis, Fellis, Felleys, Follas, Folles, Follis, Follus, Follos, Foulis and Fowlis, this is a surname of some confusing origins. It is often claimed to be Scottish, and according to one Dictionary of Scottish Surnames is locational from a place called Fowlis in Scotland. This is almost certainly wrong, as no such place exists or has existed as far as we are able to tell in that country, nor is there a place name with any similar spelling. The most likely source in all cases is not origionally Scottish at all, but Norman-French from a place called Falaise in Normandy. Many Normans were given lands by the king of Scotland, particularly in the south of the country, after the Invasion of England in 1066. This was done for tactical and political reasons. However this plan clearly failed as subsequently descendants of these families such as the Bruce's and the Stewart's, by fair means or usually foul, rose to be the kings in their own right! In this case early examples of the spelling include William de Foulis, the perpetual vicar of Kirktown, near Stirling in the year 1298, whilst Sir Alan Foulis was the canon of St.Andrews in 1305. In the surviving church registers of the city of London examples of recordings include Anne Fellis who was christened at St Botolphs without Aldgate on November 13th 1583, and the Huguenot Protestant wedding of Marie Falaize, who married Francis le Clerk, at St Georges chapel, Hanover Square, Westminster, on June 1st 1749. 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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