This interesting name is English but of Norman French origins. First introduced into England at the famous Conquest of 1066, it is thought to derive from the Germanic personal name "Mild", itself possibly from the Slavic word "mil", meaning mercy. In English documents of the Middle Ages, the name normally appears in the Latin form "Milo", but the usual spoken form would have been "Mile", so we assume that the final "s" represents the possessive or patronymic ending meaning "son of Mile". Early examples of the surname recording include those of Ralph Miles in 1292.Given as being a fishmonger of Bridge Ward, it is said that he founded a charity in the name of the late Lord Milo, and subsequently adopted his masters name, whilst William Augustus Miles (1753 - 1817) was a notable political writer. He corresponded with William Pitt the Younger, and it is said suggested building a Suez Canal in 1791. However it is likely that he got the idea from the French who had thought about it much earlier. He died in Paris in 1817, where he was collecting materials for a history of the French Revolution. William Miles who died in 1860, rose to the rank of Major-General in the Indian army. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Miles. This was dated 1177, in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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