Recorded as Hale, Hales, Heal, Heales, Heales, Hele and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is found chiefly in the South Western counties of England, and is in most cases topographical for a person who lived in a nook or small valley. The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "hale" meaning a remote valley. Topographical surnames were among the earliest to be adopted, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided obvious and convenient distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Early examples of the surname from this source include: William in the Hele of Somerset in 1234; Roger de Heles of Devonshire in 1242; and Hugh Attehele in Somerset in 1306. In some instances, the surname may be locational in origin, from places called Heale and Hele in Devonshire and Somerset. Recordings of the surname from surviving church registers include those of Richard Heale and Jane Dark who were married at Parkham in Devon, on June 21st 1548, and the christening of Philippe Heales, on March 12th 1567, in Totnes. The family coat of arms depicts, on a silver shield, five red fusils in pale, the middle one charged with a gold leopard's face. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de la Hela. This was dated 1130, in the Pipe Rolls of Hampshire, during the reign of King Henry 1st, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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