The surname of BAILEY was an official name 'the bailiff', other spellings of the name include Baillie, Bayley and Bayles. The name was derived from the Old French 'bailli' and was brought into England and Scotland from Normandy, during the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Alvered Ballivus of the County of Lincolnshire in 1273. Henry le Baillie of Monmouthshire, Wales in 1307. William de Bailli appears as a juror on an inquest concerning forfeited lands in Lothian in 1315. Adam Bailiff of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William de Bailli of Scotland in 1411, appears as a juror on an inquest concerning forfeited lands in Lothian. The Baillies are now divided into many families, the principal branches of which are those of Lamington, Jerviswood, Polkemmet and Dochfour. The term baillie now obsolete in England is still the common form in Scotland where it was used of the chief magistrate of a barony. The name was taken to Ireland by Scottish settlers, and appears frequently in medieaval records from the 12th century. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. It was an occupational name for a steward or official, the title of a muncipal magistrate, and elsewhere as bailiff, which in England denotes an officer who served writs and summonses and ensure that court orders are carried out. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state.
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