This surname recorded in over fifty different spellings from Basil, Bazelle, and Bazeley, to Basilone, Vasile, Vasilchenko, Vasovic, and Wasilewski, is of Ancient Greek origins. It derives from word "basileios" meaning "royal", and originally was given only to children of royal or noble birth. In the 4th century a.d. the name was born by St Basillos, the bishop of Caesarea, and long regarded as one of the four fathers of the Eastern (Christian) Church. It is said that in some cases the name derives from the female form of the name, and specifically from St Basilla, who in the year 304 a.d. chose death rather than marry a pagan! Upto the 11th century the name as a personal name, was usually born by clerics, however after the famous Crusades of the period, it became popular for returning soldiers to christen their children with Hebrew or biblical names, and thereby to commemorate the fathers deeds in the Holy Land. The earliest known examples of these recordings are in England, which was also the first country to adopt hereditary surnames. Examples of these recordings include Willelmus filius Basilie of the county of Yorkshire in 1219, and later in Germany Kurd Basilies was recorded in the town of Duderstadt in the year 1463.The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Ralph Basille, which was dated 1251, in the register of Ramsay Abbey, Huntingdonshire, during the reign of King Henry 111 of England , 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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