The surname of SMAL was a variant of the name Small and a nickname 'one of small stature'. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Early records of the name mention Robert le Small, who appears in County Cambridge in the year 1273, and Adam le Smale of Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward 111. (1327-1377). Willelmus Smale of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The name was early in Scotland, and Richard Smale was the canon of Glasgow, 1329. Thomas Smale appears as a witness in Roxburgh in 1338. William Small was a tenant of the Douglas in Linton in 1376. John Smalle had a safe conduct to travel to England with Scottish merchandise in 1447. Ricardus Smaley, witnessed a sale of land in Glasgow in the year 1440.
Later instances of the name include Nicholas Small, who registered at Oxford University in the year 1508, and Elizabeth, daughter of John Small was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1621. John Smale and Ann Collet were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1731.
The name is also spelt Smale and Small.
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