The surname of VIEL was derived from the Old French 'Vitel' a name given to one full of vitality. The name was probably brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Vitalis, Vitel and Fitel all listed as tenants in the Domesday Book of 1086. Vithele (without surname) was documented in Devonshire in the year 1150 and John Vitele appears in 1207 in County Sussex. Edward Vyall was recorded during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) in County Somerset, and Thomas Viel of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function of the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Later instances of the name mention Daniel Vial and Sarah Larching who were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1731, and John Viall and Sarah Colquhoun were married at the same church in 1775. Thomas Vyall was recorded in 1524 in County Surrey. The name has many variant spellings which include Vial, Vials and Vidall. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
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