The surname of BEELER is both a locational name and a nickname. It was local of Beale, a place in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and also of Beal-on-the-Hill, a hamlet in North Durham, close to the sea. The name came to England with the Conqueror in 1066, and from the Old French word 'belle' meaning beautiful, the name was derived from the old French BEHIL. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday book. Early records of the name mention Thomas Beley, 1206 County Essex. Simon de Beel 1275 Worcestershire. Lawrence Beily of Yorkshire was recorded in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379 and Thomas Bele of County Hereford registered at Oxford University in 1583. The acquisition of surnames in Europe has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another.
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