This surname AQUILI was a Norman habitation name from Laigle in Orne, Normandy, whose name apparently means 'the eagle', although the reasons for this are not clear. The recorded forms may represent the result of the operation of early folk etymology on some unknown original. Matilda de Aquila is recorded in 1129 as the widow of Robert Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village early times, has served to name many families. What is known is that the name has been Anglicized to Eagle and early records of the name mention William Egle, 1273, County Cambridge. Gilbert de la Hegle was documented in County Sussex in the same year. Joseph Eagle and Elizabeth Johnson were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1777. Daniel Miller and Anna Maria Eagles were married at the same church in 1780. A certain Solomon Eagles, who was a Quaker musician in London in the second half of the 17th century, was also known as Eccles, and may well have been of Huguenot origin. The Bristol family of this name are probably descended from a certain William Eagles, burgess in 1630. As Bristol traders, they also acquired estates in Carolina whence the name became established in North America. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General.
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