Recorded in several spellings as shown below, this is an English medieval surname, but one of French origins. Introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, it is or was an occupational name for a maker of paling and fences. The derivation is from paleis, meaning a palisade, from the Latin "palus", a stake or pole. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and became hereditary if a son followed the father into the same skill or business. In some instances the surname may be topographical for a "dweller at a fenced enclosure".Early examples of recordings taken from surviving charters and registers include Augustine de la Pallase of Suffolk in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of 1327, and Richard Palicer in the same tax rolls, but of Staffordshire in 1381. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Pallas, Pallis, Palace, Pallys, Palliser, Palister, Pallister, Palser and possibly others. One of the earliest settlers of the name in the New World was James Pallister, aged 28 years., who departed from the Port of London aboard the ship "Hopewell", bound for the Barbadoes in February 1634. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that Henry Paillehus and dated 1165 in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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