This unusual English surname is locational, and very rare. It may originate from a place called Scarth Hill in the county of Lancashire, or from a now 'lost' medieval village of which there were several thousand that have completely disappeared, or it may be a variant of something else. Taking the latter possibility, certain registers suggest that it is a developed form of Scales or Scholes, a Norse-Viking word in origin, meaning 'the summer place', and referring to pasture lands grazed in the summer.In the 17th century Scales was recorded as Skailles and later Sceavell. Issabel Skaillies being recorded at Doncaster, Yorkshire, on September 7th 1606, and Frances Sceavell at Cartmel, Cumberland, on October 8th 1621, and it maybe that the later Scahill/Skahill/Skahall could be spelling variants of Sceavell. Given that spelling was very poor and local accents very thick, this is a strong possibility. Examples of the surname recording include Patrick Scahall who married Sabina Cunningham at St Johns church, Preston, Lancashire, on June 21st 1853, Margaret Skahill, who married Andrew Duffy at Manchester Cathedral, on September 28th 1857, and James Scahill, who married Elsie Barry at St Nicholas church, Liverpool, on June 3rd 1872. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Skahill, which was dated March 1st 1813, married at Sculcoates, Near Hull, East Yorkshire, during the reign of King George 111, known as 'Farmer George', 1760 - 1820. 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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