Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an English surname, but one of Old French origins. Introduced into England at or immediately after, the Norman Conquest of 1066, it has a number of possible meanings. Firstly, it may have developed as either a status name for a village elder, a respected man of the village, or as a name of endearment (Old man), a phrase still in some use in the 21st century, or for the elder of two bearers of the same given name. The derivation is from the French word "viel", meaning old. Secondly, the surname may have been an occupational name for a calf-herd, one who looked after young cattle, with the periferal possiblity that it was a nickname for a placid person. In this case the derivation is from "veel", meaning calf. The modern surname forms include Veal, Veale, Veall, Vealer, Veel, Veeler and Veelers. Early examples include: Geoffrey Viele of Sussex in 1206; William le Viel of Lincolnshire in 1218; Richard le Vele of Somerset in 1270; Thomas le Veel of Sussex in 1296 and much later Ann Vealer or Veeler, who married William Allen at St Dunstans on the East, Stepney, in 1774. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald Leviel. This was dated 1173, in the Pipe Rolls of London, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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