- Recorded as Pail, Pale, Payle, and Pales, as well as Paler, Pailer, Payler, Paylor and possibly others, this is probably an English surname, but of pre 10th century Old French origins. If so it was introduced into the British Isles after the famous Conquest of 1066, and was occupational for a maker of pots and pans. The derivation being from "paelle", meaning a frying or cooking pan. In Middle English this spelling developed into pail or payile, with the agent suffix "-er"to describe a worker. In the low technology but highly skilled craftes of the medieval period, the manufacture of pails was one of the most important of all, as life would have been almost impossible without these implements. However it is also possible although we have no definitive proof, that in some instances it may be Welsh and a fused form of Ap Aled, meaning the son of Aled. Either way the surname was first recorded in 1193 when Ralph le Payller appears in the Westmoreland Pipe Rolls. This was during the reign of King Richard 1st of England, known as The Lionheart, 1189 - 1199. Later recordings taken from surviving church registers include Agnes Payle at St Andrews Enfield, Middlesex, on October 21st 1576, Richhard Pale at St Giles Cripplegate, in the city of London, on March 25th 1625, and Elizabeth Pail at St Botolphs Bishopgate, also city of London, on September 16th 1774. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.