Recorded in many spellings including Maile, Mall, Malle, Maul, Maule, Mawle, Morl, Muhle, Mule, and Muhlke, this can only be described confusingly as a European surname. It has at least three separate and quite distinct origins and meanings from France, Germany, England and perhaps Scotland. Taking the English origin first, as Mall, Malle, Moll, Maul and Maule, this is often a short or nickname form of the popular hebrew name Mary, introduced into Europe by returning Crusaders from their various expeditions to free Jerusalem in the 12th century, the first recording may be that of Cristiana de Maule of Hertford in 1293, and Thomas Maull at St Peters Cornhill, city of London, in 1587.Secondly and arguably in the same spellings, the name is also French and from the same source of Mary. However the French origin which may effect the English origin, and certainly the Scottish, can also be locational from a place called Maule near Paris. The first nameholder from this source being Guarin de Maule, lord of Maule, and a companion of William, Duke of Normandy, when he invaded England in 1066. It seems that this Maule went to Scotland where he obtained a grants of lands in Lothian from King David 1st of Scotland. In Germany the name was originally a nickname for a person with either a twisted mouth, or who was regarded as being as stubborn as a mule! Burchardus Mul being recorded in Heiligenberg in 1251, and Jakob Maul of Geislingen in 1524.
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