Recorded in the spellings of Tale, Taill, Tallo, Tallow, Taylo, Tayloe, Tellow, Tillow, Tollow and other forms, 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. Early examples of the surname recordings taken at random include Annis Tayllo who married Robert Rafton at Allhallows, London Wall, on February 9th 1573, Barbara Tallowe christened at St Augustines Watling street, city of London, on February 26th 1592, Walter Tallo, a christening witness at Pitcombe, Somerset, on December 29th 1679, and at Bishops Hull Dissenter Chapel, also Somerset, John Taylo, whose daughter Mary was baptised there on April 25th 1757.
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