This interesting surname is of Pre Christian, Ancient Greek origin. It is a short form of "Aegidius", meaning "a wearer of the goatskin", a refernce to a holy man, or somebody who did good works. St. Giles (originally Aegidius) left Greece to become a hermit in France, and was only discovered when the hind from whose milk he lived, was pursued to his hermitage by a royal hunting party. It is said that his Greek name was turned into Gidie, then to Gide, and finally became Gilles, the usual French form. St. Giles is regarded as the patron of beggars and cripples; hence the London church of St. Giles Cripplegate. The name was introduced into England and Scotland by the Normans, with the names Gilo and Ghilo appearing in the Domesday Book of 1086. In the modern idiom the surname has many spellings, and is found in almost every European country. These spellings range from Giles, Gyles and Jiles to Agidi, Gillette, Ilchman, and Gillyns! One of the first settlers in the New World of the American Colonies was Jonathon Giles, who appears in the very first muster for Virginia. He is shown as "living on February 16th 1623". If he had not been, he would have been shown in the "dead" listings. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Ailward Gile, which was dated 1176, in the pipe rolls of the county of Buckinghamshire, England, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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