Recorded in many spelling modern forms including Vial, Viall, Vitall, Vittle, Vittel, Viel, Vyel, and no doubt others, this is an English surname. It is or was originally a personal name of endearment from the pre 7th century and possibly as far back as Roman times. It derives from from the Latin word "vitalis", a derivative of "vita", meaning life or perhaps pertaining to life. It was introduced into Britain after the Norman Conquest of 1066 in the Old French forms of Vitel and Viel, and it became popular with Christians during the religious revival period of the 12th century as a symbol of their belief in eternal life, particulary as Vitalis was a name borne by a dozen of the early saints. The name development has included such recordings as Richard Viel of Devonshire in 1194, John Vitell of Sussex in 1207, Henry Vyel of Worcestershire in 1275, and Thomas Vyall of Suffolk in 1574. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Radulfus Vitalis. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Devonshire, during the reign of King William Ist of England, 1066 - 1086. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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