Tall - what does Tall surname mean?

Recorded as Tale, Tall, Talle, Tallman, and possibly Talman, this is an English surname. As Tall it is quite rare, partly because the word `tall` did not have anything like the same connotation in medieval times as it has today. It has Olde English pre 7th century origins and actually described a decent and respectable person, someone of trust. As there were few such people, may help to explain the relative rarity of the surname. A person of above average height would have been called `Long` and it was not until the Elizabethan era, two hundred years after surnames came into popular use, that tall as a word, was used to describe a person`s height. As Tallman the surname described a respected merchant, the first example being that of Walter Talman of the county of Somerset in the year 1273. This was in the Hundred Rolls of landowners of the county. It is unclear when the surname as Tale or Tall was first recorded, and it may have been a short version of Tallman, but examples in the surviving church registers of the city of London include Thomas Tall who was christened at St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, on September 11th 1608, and Mary Tale who married James Jermain at St Botolophs Bishopgate, on April 3rd 1610.

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