This ancient name, found chiefly in Devonshire and the southern counties of England, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is in most cases a topographical surname acquired in the first instance by someone who lived in a nook or hollow. The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hale", the dative case of "healh, halh", nook, recess, remote valley. Topographical surnames were among the earliest to be adopted, since both atural and man-made features in the landscape provided obvious and convenient distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Early examples of the surname from this source include: William in the Hele (1234, Somerset); Roger de Hele (1242, Devonshire); and Hugh Attehele (1306, Somerset). In some instances, the surname may be locational in origin, from places called Heale and Hele in Devonshire and Somerset. Recordings of the name from Devonshire Church Registers include those of the marriage of Richard Heale and Jane Dark in Parkham, on June 21st 1548, and the christening of Philippe, son of Symon Heale, on March 12th 1567, in Totnes. The family Coat of Arms depicts, on a silver shield, five red fusils in pale, the middle one charged with a gold leopard's face; the Crest shows a gold eagle, close, on a red chapeau turned up ermine. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de la Hela, which was dated 1130, in the "Pipe Rolls of Hampshire", 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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