Recorded as Spitall, Spittle, Spittell, Spittles, and others, this is an English surname. It is of early medieval origin, and is occupational for someone who was employed at a hostel or lodging house. The name is derived from the Old French word "hospital", originally from the Latin "hospitale", meaning guest house. Occupational surnames were amongst the earliest to be created, they later became hereditary when a son followed his father into the same line of business. This surname is usually associated with the hospitals of medieval times, such as Spitalfields in 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 Curia Regis Rolls of 1230. 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. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey del Hospital. This was dated 1210, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King John, 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was often known as the 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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