This interesting surname, of Norman origin, has two possible sources. Firstly, it may derive from the Old Norman French "gayolierre", "gaiolere", Old French "gaioleur" meaning a jailer, and would have been an occupational name for someone working in a jail. It may also be a topographical name for someone who lived near the local jail. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages.The surname first appears on record in the mid 13th Century (see below). One, Richard le Gaylor is noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire (1275) and William le Gaoler appears in the Records of the Borough of Nottingham (1302). In the modern idiom, the surname has many variant spellings which range from Galer, Gayler and Gaylor to Jailler. Recordings of the surname from Church Registers include: Thomazin, daughter of Christopfer Gailor, who was christened on October 16th 1586 at St. Mary Abchurch, London and Sarah Gailor who married William Lane on March 15th 1789 at Silverton, Kent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Gaoler, witness, which was dated 1255, in the "Assize Court Rolls of Essex", 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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