This surname EZELL was from the district of Eskdale in Dumfriesshire, and Robert du Val de Esk of Rokesburk, who rendered homage in the year 1296, appears to be the first of the name recorded. The name has numerous variant spellings which include ESSELL, EASDAILE, EISDALE, ESDALE, ESDAILE and ISDALE. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The first people in Scotland to aquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. Later instances of the name include John de Esdale who was documented in 1413 in Dumfriesshire, and James Esdaill appears there in 1493. John Isdaill is recorded in the parish of Donyng in 1669, and George Esdaill of Cameron was recorded in the parish of Bonhill in 1668. The family were descended from Sir James Esdaile, Lord Mayor of London in 1778, a French protestant, who settled in England after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries.
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