Recorded in many spellings including Gales, Jales, Jailes, this is an English surname but of Norman-French origins. It derives from one of the French forms of the name ancient pre 7th century personal name Walo or Galo, from "walh", meaning foreign. This became the Anglo-Norman Waleis meaning the Celts, or the Welshmen. In the Welsh border counties the reference was to the Welsh nationals and in the eastern counties the Celts referred to were probably Bretons, many of whom settled there after the Norman Conquest of 1066.In Scotland the name became "Wallace" and referred to the small group of Britons who lived in the "kingdom" of Strathclyde until the late Middle Ages. The Mayors court rolls of Cambridge in 1299 records one Henry le Galeys also known as le Waleis. Recordings of the surname from later church registers of the city of London include Thomassin Gales, the daughter of William Gales, who was christened on January 12th 1572 at St. Katherines by the Tower; on October 1st 1604, John Jales who married Agnes Carpenter at St. Botolph's Bishopgate on October 11th 1620. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mager Galeys. This was dated 1279, in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England and 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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