Recorded in a number of spelling forms including Veal, Veale, Veall, Veel, and Veyell, this unusual and interesting surname is English, but of pre medieval French origins. Probably introduced by the Normans after 1066, tt has two possible sources, both in sense nicknames. The first is as a metonymic occupational name for a calf dealer or breeder. Here the derivation is from the pre 10th century French word "veel", meaning a calf. Secondly the surname could have been originally a nickname for an "old man". This was almost certainly a nickname of endearment as used in the phrase "Old man", and as such may also have been baptismal. Here the derivation is from the French word "viel" meaning old, and an early example is that of Thomas le Veyle, a landowner recorded in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Norfolk in 1273. Other recordings taken from early surviving charters anbd registers include: Edward Veele in the Hundred Rolls of Gloucestershire in 1576, whilst recordings from surviving church registers include the marriage of Emanuell Veale and Martin Cocks at St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, on June 16th 1619; the baptism of Margaret, daughter of Thomas Veal, at St. James', Clerkenwell in 1673. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Richard le Vele. This was dated 1270, a witness at the "Assize Court of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 111 of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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