This interesting surname derives from the personal name Giles, which is of Greek origin, from "Aegidius", meaning "wearer of the aegis (goatskin)". St. Giles (originally Aegidius) left Greece to become a hermit in France, and was only discovered when the hind of whose milk he lived was pursued to his hermitage by a royal hunting party. It is said that his Greek name was turned into Gidie, then to Gide, and finally became Gilles, the usual French form. St. Giles is regarded as the patron of beggars and cripples; hence the London Church of St. Giles Cripplegate. The name was introduced into England and Scotland by the Normans, with the names Gilo and Ghilo appearing in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below). One William Gyles is registered in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex (1296). In the modern idiom the surname has three spelling variations; Giles, Gyles and Jiles. One Jonathin Giles is recorded as living in Virginia on February 16th 1623, he is believed to have been one of the earliest of the namebearers in the New World. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a red shield charged on a gold cross between four gold chalices, four lions' heads full-faced proper, on a gold chief three black pelicans, the Crest being three pansy flowers proper issuing from a gold chalice. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ailward Gile, which was dated 1176, in the "Pipe Rolls of Buckinghamshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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