This interesting name has three possible sources, the first of which is from an English nickname for a cheerful, pleasant or roisterous person, derived from the Middle English "ga(i)le", meaning "jovial", "rowdy", or merry. The second source is from a personal name introduced into England by the Normans as "Gal(on)", which by that time (1066) had absorbed the originally separate meanings of either a short form of a compound name beginning with "gail", cheerful, or a nickname "walh", meaning stranger or foreigner. The third possible source is from the Old Norman French "gaiole", jail and forms a metonymic occupational surname for a jailer, or possibly a topographic name for someone who lived near the local jail. One, Juliana le Gale, is recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire (1327). In the modern idiom, the surname is found with the variant spellings, Gale, Gail, Gallon and Gayle. One, John Gale, is recorded as living in Virginia, on February 16th 1623. He was one of the earliest settlers in the New World. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Geil, which was dated 1186, in the "Worcestershire Pipe Rolls", 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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