Recorded in the spellings of Tale, Tales, Taills, Tallo, Taylo, Tayloe, and other forms as well, this is an English surname of uncertain origins. It seems to be a nickname and to derive from the Olde English pre 7th century "tele", the small duck, later known as the teal, but it may also derive from the word "teagel", meaning a tail. Some fifteen percent of all English surname originate from nicknames, the problem is that whilst in the 20th century we may know the literal translation, this is not the same by any means, as knowing the precise meaning at the time the nickname was bestowed. Most of the surviving nickname surnames are associated with birds or animals, and the supposed resemblance or characteristics of these creatures to the first nameholders. Equally the parts of the human body were also used, and what may in the 20th century be considered either obscene or robust, do not seem to have greatly concerned our forefathers, as is show by the popular survival of such names as Bull or Cox. In this case we have the added complication that the name may simply be a short form of Taylor. Early examples of the surname recording seem to come from the village of Pitcombe in Somerset. These include William Taile on September 1st 1729, John Tales, on June 21st 1746, and at Bishops Hull Dissenter Chapel, John Taylo, whose daughter Mary was baptised there on April 25th 1757. The first known recording in any spelling is believed to be that of Walter Tallo, at Pitcombe, Somerset, on December 27th 1679.
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