This very rare and interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is from an occupational name for someone who was employed at a lodging house. The name is derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "spital", an aphetic form of the Old French "hospital", originally from the Late Latin "hospitale", itself from "hostis", the genitive "hospitis", meaning guest. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. This name is usually associated with the hospitals of medieval times, such as the local Spitalfields of London. The original form "Spittle" was defined in Skeat's "Etymological Dictionary", dated 1580, as follows: "A spittle, hospitall or lazar-house". A rarer source of the name may be locational from the place called Spital in the Street, in Lincolnshire, which means "the hospital", and was first recorded as "Hospitale" in the 1204 Curia Regis Rolls, and as "Spitelenthestrete" in 1322. The surname was first recorded in the early 13th Century, and other early recordings include Adam del Spitell in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, dated 1307. This spelling form is usually found recorded late in history; Joseph, son of William and Ann Spittal, was christened on July 6th 1769, at Endell Street, Holborn, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey del Hospital, which was dated 1210, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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