Recorded as Small, Smale, Smaile, the diminutives Smalin, Smallin, Smalling, the patronymics Smalls, Smales, Smailes and other possibly others, this is an ancient Anglo-Scottish surname. It was originally a nickname of endearment either for a person of slender build or diminutive stature, or given the Chaucerian humour of the Middle Ages, the complete reverse! Deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "smael", meaning slender, the surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below). Early recordings include William Smale in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1275, and Richard Small the canon of Glasgow in 1329. Recordings from surviving church registers of the cioty of London include the marriage of Agnes Smalle and John Cowper on July 5th 1545, at St. Stephan's, Coleman Street, and the marriage of John Smalling and Isabell Jones on June 1st 1561, at St. Leonard's Eastcheap. Patrick Small, aged 31 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Siddons" bound for New York, on March 28th 1846. A coat of arms associated with the name has the blazon of a blue shield, charged with a gold chevron between three silver martlets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Smale. This was dated 1221, in the Assize Court Rolls of Ely, Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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