Recorded in several spellings including the popular Peel and Peele, and the much rarer Peal, Peale, Peil, Peile, Peill, Pell, and possibly others, this famous English surname has several possible origins. Firstly it may derive from the French word "pel", introduced into the British Isles after the conquest of England in 1066. This was used to describe a boundary marker or post, or secondly it may have been a nickname for a tall, thin person! An early example from this latter source is the recording of Walter Pele at the Assize Court of Linclnshire in the year 1202. The name can also be locational or topographical from Piel Island in Lancashire or describe somebody who lived inside a palisade called a "piel". From this origin developed the later concept of the Peel Tower, a tall defensive structure, and a relatively common feature of the countryside in the Border Country between England and Scotland. John de Pele of Lancashire in the year 1301, would seem to be from this source but may be from Peel or Piel Island, in Lancashire . Early interesting examples of the surname include: Henry Pele of Yorkshire in 1238, and Robert Peel of Nottinghamshire, in 1382, whilst Edard Peile was a student at Oxford University in 1601. Amongst the many notable bearers of the name was John Peel of Cumberland (1776 - 1854), the legendary huntsman who maintained his own pack for over fifty years, and Sir Robert Peel (1788 - 1850), British statesman; and Conservative prime minister (1834 -1846) who founded the Metropolitan Police. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Pele. This was dated 1199, in the Pipe Rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Richard 1st of England, and known as "Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading tostonishing variants of the original spelling.
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