This interesting name is originally of Irish origin, derived from the Gaelic personal name "Niall", meaning "Champion". It was adopted by the Scandinavians in the form of "Njall" and was thereafter introduced into England directly from Ireland by the Norse settlers and indirectly by the Normans who had also adopted the name from the Scandinavian settlers in France, in the form of "Ni(h)el". As a personal name and surname it is found in various forms in England, Scotland and Ireland. The English surnames "Niles" and "Neels" are patronymic forms, meaning "son of Neil". One David Niles was married to Elizabeth Silk on the 29th June 1784 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Neel, which was dated 1208, The Berkshire Curia Rolls, during the reign of King John "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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