The surname PEELE was a locational name 'dweller at the peel' - from residence at a fortified house. Many old mansions still bear the name of 'the Peel' in the north of England. Peel Castle in Furness is well known, and almost every old house in the dales was called a peel-house, built for securing the inhabitants in mediavel times. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Early records of the name mention Geoffrey atte Pele of the County of Somerset in 1273. Ailwin Peele of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Roger Pele, parson of Dalton-in-Furness, County Lancashire in 1541. Robert Peel of Blackburn, Wills at Chester in 1577.
An eminent member of the name was Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850) the English statesman born near Bury in Lancashire. In 1811, he was appointed under-secretary for the colonies and from 1812 until 1818 was secretary for Ireland. As home secretary he reorganized the London Police Force, hence the name Peelers or Bobby's. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. The arms were registered at Peele Fold, County Lancaster and Trenant Park, County Cornwall, to Sir Robert of Drayton Manor who was created a bart. in 1800. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.
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