This interesting surname has three possible derivations. Firstly, it may derive from an early medieval occupational name for someone employed as a servant at the hall or manor house, from the Olde English, Anglo-Saxon "sael", hall (Middle English "sale"), reinforced by the Old French form "salle", introduced by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. The second possibility is that it is either a topographical or locational name, from the Olde English "salh", a sallow tree, a low growing willow. The topographical form denotes residence by a sallow tree, while the locational name is from a place named with the word, such as Sale in Greater Manchester.Finally, the name may be of Old Scandinavian origin, as a topographical name for someone who lived by a pool, from the Old Norse "seyla", pool. Variants of the surname in the modern idiom include: Sale, Saile, Sails, Sailes and Salle. William Saylles is recorded in 1379, in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of James Sale and Ann Burbery, on November 8th 1652, at St. Martin in the Fields; the marriage of John Saill and Anne Southall, on May 6th 1736, at Lincoln's Inn Chapel, Holborn; and the christening of John, son of Thomas and Sarah Saill, on September 13th 1748, at St. Sepulchre's, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh de Sailes, which was dated 1219, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, 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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