This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Gledhill, near Halifax in West Yorkshire. The place is recorded in the Wakefield Court Rolls of 1275 as "Gledehul", and is named with the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "gleoda, glida", kite (the bird of prey), and "hyll", hill. Interestingly, there are a number of other places in West Yorkshire which also have "gleoda" as the first element: Gleadless, "the kite glade"; Gledholt, "the kite wood"; and Gledhow, "the kite hill or cliff". Locational surnames were acquired by the lord of the manor, and local landowners, and were used particularly as a means of identification by those who left their birthplace and settled elsewhere; regional dialectal differences and varying standards of literacy subsequently gave rise to variant forms of the original name. In this instance, the surname can be found as Gledhill, Gledall, Gleadhall, Gleadell, Gleadle and Gladhill. Examples from Yorkshire Church Registers include: the marriage of John Gleadall and Margaret Ashton, on November 12th 1560, in Braithwell; the christening of Sarah, daughter of Henry Gleadhall, at All Saints, Wakefield, on April 19th 1693; and the marriage of Jonathan Gleadhall and Margery Wilson on September 5th 1700, in Leeds. The family Coat of Arms depicts three silver lozenges in fess on a blue shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Gledehyll, which was dated 1277, in the "Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield", Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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