This unusual and interesting name is of French origin, from the (French) topographical name "Valois", meaning someone who lived in a valley, or from any of the various places called "Val(l)ois" or from a regional name from the district in France so called which was once an independent Duchy. In all cases the derivation is from the Old French "val", meaning valley. The surname is first recorded in London as "Valois" or "Valoyes" in the late 16th Century, but the majority of the recordings are in the early years of the 18th Century, which strongly suggests that this is a French Huguenot name, introduced to Britain at the time of the greate influx of Huguenot refugees into England at the end of the 17th Century. One Magdelaine Valleau was christened in the French Huguenot church in Castle st. London in 1701 and Susanna Vallow in 1704 at St. Anne's, Soho. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Judithe Valois or Valoyes, christened. which was dated 28th February 1568, St. Nicholas Acons, London. during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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