This name derives from the Medieval English or Old French "gentil" meaning "courteous" or "well-born" and was originally given as a nickname to one noble in conduct. The surname is first recorded at the beginning of the 13th Century, (see below). In 1273 one, Robert le Gentill or Gentyl appears in "The Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire" and a Jophannes Gentill in the 1379 "Poll Tax Returns Records" of Yorkshire. In the "modern" idiom, the name is spelt Gentle, Gentil(e) or Jentle with the patronymic form Gentles. On February 27th 1616, Edward Gentle and Marie Polmer were married in St. Gregory by St. Paul's, London and on July 2nd 1644, Mary Gentle married a Thomas Selman at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osbert le Gentil, which was dated 1202, in the "Pipe Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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