This interesting and unusual surname, is found widespread in Northumberland, derives from the Germanic personal name "Gal(on)", which was introduced into England by the Normans. This personal name was originally composed of two distinct names which have fallen together "gail", cheerful and the other was a nickname from the element "walh", meaning stranger, foreigner. The surname is also found in France where many Germanic elements are found. The name itself first appears in the early 13th Century (see below). One Robert Galen appeared in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1273 as did a Fulco Galyon (Cambridge) and Roger Gulyan (Cambridge). The Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire record Thomas Galon in 1275. Richard Galon was mentioned in Kirby's Quest for Somerset in 1328. One John Gallon was christened on May 4th 1686 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. A Coat of Arms was granted to a family of the name in Brittany, France which consisted of four eagles heads erased, on a black field divided by a vair i.e. (pieces of fur, silver and blue, cut to resemble to flower of the Campanula cross). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Galun, which was dated 1220, in the "Curia Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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