This interesting and unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, and is of uncertain etymology. However, C.W. Bardsley, in his "Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames", says that it is from a nickname for one who shailed, one who walked crookedly, a cripple. This is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, and to habits of dress. The modern surname can be found as Shaylor, Shayler and Shailer. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Gualterus Shaler and Ellena Mannings at St. Martin in the Fields, on November 20th 1597; the christening of John, son of Robert Shayler, on January 8th 1614, at St. Augustine's, Watling Street; and the marriage of Mary Shailer and Robert Hall, also at St. Augustine's, on April 4th 1631. Mary's. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Scayler, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of the West Riding of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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