This surname GAU occurs in Perthshire and Aberdeen where the common pronunciation of the name is Gaw and was used of Lowlanders, since the name was derived from the Gaelic 'gal' and meant one who was a stranger, a foreigner. It was originally brought into England during the Anglo-Norman Invasion of 1066, and Walter Galle of London appears to be the first of the name on record in 1086. The name is also spelt GAW, GALLE and GALT. 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. The name is also found in the Welsh borders and in County Lincolnshire where it applied to immigrants from France. Godfrey Gault who appears in 1202 in Yorkshire and Adam Richard Galle was documented in 1221 in Wales, and John Gal appears in Scotland in 1334. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.Later instances of the name include Julyan Gawle, who was buried at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in the year 1550, and David Gall and Ann Risbridger were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1758. A notable bearer of the name was Johann Gottreid Galle (1812-1910) the German astronomer born in Pabsthaus, Wittenberg. In 1846 he discovered the planet Neptune, whose existence had already been postulated in earlier calculations. From 1851 until 1857 he was the director of the Breslau observatory.
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