This name, with variant spellings Smale, Smail, Smaile, Small, Smalles, Smalls, and Smeal(l), derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "Smael" meaning "small, slender or thin", and was originally given as a nickname to one of slight stature. The surname was first recorded in the early part of the 13th Century, (see below). One, Robert le Small of Huntingdonshire and a Henry le Smale of Cambridgeshire were recorded in the Hundred Rolls of those counties in 1273. Nicholas Smale or Small was entered in "The Oxford University Register" in 1508.On March 6th 1545, Jane Smales, an enfant, was christened in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, London. Henry, son of John and Alice Smailes, was christened on December 9th 1638 at St. Michael's, Bassishaw, London, and Elizabeth Mary, daughter of John and Mary Smails, was christened on January 2nd 1778 at St. George the East, Stepney, London. The final "s" on the name indicates the patronymic and is a reduced form of "son of". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Smale, which was dated 1221, in "The Pipe Rolls of Cambridgeshire", 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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