This surname LYAL was a locational name 'the dweller at the isle' from residence thereon. Local names usually denoted where a man held land. During the middle ages it became customary for a man to be named after the village where he lived, or where he held his land. This name was given to his family, and it identified them wherever they moved. Early records of the name mention Robert del Isle, during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). Robertus del Isle of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Lisle of County Lancashire, was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1583. Davie Lisle and Jane Harrison were married at the same church in the year 1747. Nicholas Lyle married Elizabeth Davenport at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1744. 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.
An eminent member of the name was Alicia Lisle (1614-1685) the English parliamentarian. She was the widow of one of Cromwell's lords, she was beheaded at Winchester by order of Judge Jeffreys for sheltering two of Monmouth's rebels, after the battle of Sedgemoor. At Charles I's execution she said that her 'blood leaped within her to see the tyrant fall'.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.
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