This notable Irish surname is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "O'Scolaidhe" or "O'Scolaire", descendant of the town-crier, or scholar. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, or some illustrious warrior or elder, and are usually prefixed by "Mac", meaning "son of", or "O", grandson, male descendant of. Originally a Westmeath sept, the Scull(e)ys moved to the Munster county of Tipperary under Anglo-Norman pressure as early as the 12th Century. One branch of the family established itself at Lorrha in north Tipperary where they became erenaghs of the church of St. Ruan. The office of erenagh involved the maintenance of a priest and the holding of church property from generation to generation. The townland of Ballyscully locates this branch. Other members of the sept settled near Cashel in south Tipperary, and Scully's Cross near the famous Rock of Cashel marks the spot where this family had the privilege of being interred. On November 26th 1736, Isabel, daughter of Patrick Sculley, was christened at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London, and on February 13th 1865, a daughter, Anne, was born to Thomas Sculley and Johanna Donnell, in Tipperary. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William O'Scully, landholder, which was dated 1256, in the "Ecclesiastical Records of County Dublin", during the reign of King Henry 111 of England, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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