This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is one of the patronymic forms of the surname Seal, which is a good example of that fascinating group of early English surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition. In this instance, the nickname was taken from the aquatic mammal, the seal, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "seolh", in Middle English "sele"; the nickname may have referred to the person's eyes, or perhaps to a plump or ungainly figure. One Roger Sele is recorded in the Norfolk Pipe Rolls of 1198, and Richard Seale is listed in the Register of the University of Oxford for 1574. In the patronymic forms of the surname, found as Seals, Seales and Seels, the final "s" is a reduced form of "son (of)". Examples of the name from Church Registers include: the recordings of the marriage of Christopher Seals and Mary Lapworth, at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London, on September 24th 1654, and the christening of Robert, son of Robert Seals, in St. Peters at Arches, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, in March 1687. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name depicts a blue fesse between three black wolves' heads erased on a gold shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh le Sele, which was dated circa 1113, in the "Burton Chartulary of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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