This distinguished name is of Old French origin, as an Anglicized form of a Norman surname introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is derived from the Old French and Anglo-Norman French term "taillis", clearing in an area of woodland, a derivative of "tailler", to cut, and as a surname may be either locational or topographical. As a locational surname, Tallis derives from any one of the minor localities in France named Taille or Taillis, and as a topographical name, it denoted residence in a "taillis", clearing in a wood. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created in Europe, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Examples of the name from London Church Registers include: the marriage of John Tallis and Jone Hunt at St. Peter Cornhill, on October 9th 1581, and the christening of William Tallis, on November 15th 1596, at St. Andrew's, Holborn. A notable bearer of the name was Thomas Tallis (1505- 1585), the English composer and organist noted for his arrangements of the liturgical music of the Church of England. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name is blazoned as follows: Argent, on a chevron sable between three falcons jessed and belled proper as many pheons or (gold). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Tailles, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cornwall", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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