This unusual name is of early medieval Scottish origin, and is a locational surname derived from the place called Scoughall in the old parish of Tyninghame, on the coast near North Berwick. The placename means "the wood in the hollow or recess", derived from the Old Norse word "skogr", wood, with the Old English pre 7th Century "halh", nook, recess, hollow. One Patrick de Scugale is recorded in the Episcopal Registry of Aberdeen as a knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in 1465, and one John Scowgale was sheriff of Perth in 1505.Patrick Scougal, of the family of Scougal of that Ilk, was bishop of Aberdeen from 1664 to 1682. The name development in Scotland includes Scugall (1412), Scougale (1468), and Skowgale (1572), while the modern surname appears as Scougall and Scougal. The marriage of James Scougall and Elizabeth Patterson was recorded in Edinburgh on November 13th 1662. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip de Scughale, charter witness, which was dated 1204, Records of the Scottish Historical Society, Edinburgh, during the reign of William the Lion, King of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. 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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