This most interesting and ancient surname has two possible derivations. Firstly, it may derive from a nickname of Celtic origins, meaning "foreigner, stranger", from the Old Gaelic word "gall", stranger. In the Highlands of Scotland, the term was applied to people from the English-speaking Lowlands, and to Scandinavians, while in Ireland it was given to settlers who arrived from Wales and England in the aftermath of the nglo- Norman invasion. The surname is also found early in Lincolnshire, where it is of Breton origin, being introduced there by Norman settlers. Secondly, however, the name may derive from a given name derived from the Latin "Gallus", originally from "gallus", cock, which was widespread in Europe during the Middle Ages. In the modern idiom the surname has several spellings including McGall, MacGall, Gall, and Gaw. Its popularity was due to the fame of a 7th Century Irish monk, St. Gall; he established a Christian settlement to the south of Lake Constance, and was taken in Czechoslovakia as "Havel", and Poland as "Gawel". Early examples of the surname include Adam Galle (Warwickshire, 1221), and John Gal and William Gaw (Perthshire, 1334 and 1397, respectively). Andrew Gall was commander of the sloop "Katherine", which operated in the Caribbean region in the late 17th Century (circa 1679). A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a silver shield with a black bear sejant rampant with a red muzzle, and the Motto "Patientia vincit" (Patience conquers). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Galle, which was dated circa 1170, in the "Transcripts of Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses", Lincolnshire, 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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