There are some very unusual surnames in the world, but this one certainly ranks high in the list. We can say with absolute certainty that it is of French-Flanders origin, and a Huguenot refugee name, first recorded in England in the early 18th century. As such it is reasonably well documented and we have tried to show the development below. But as to its original (pre England) spelling and hence its meaning, we have nothing proven. English people have always had difficulty with foreign languages, and the arrival of the French protestant refugees between 1580 and 1760 proved a major problem for the clerks or clerics responsible for registering the names of these incoming people. As such they resorted to anglicised phonetic spellings to produce 'sounds like' surnames - and this is one of them! First recorded as 'Taysbil', (see below) it further developed into 'Tosspell' in 1738 when one Mary Tosspell married a Mr Whittingham Barker at St James Church, Clerkenwell, on March 1st of that year. Later another development was into the spellings as 'Tayspell' when Peter Tayspell was recorded at St Olaves church, Hart Street, London on August 25th 1799. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gile Taysbil, which was dated November 5th 1704, at the French church, Rider Court, London, during the reign of Queen Anne, known as 'the last Stuart monarch', 1702 - 1714. 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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