Recorded as Nail, Naile, Nailer, Nayler, and Naylor, this is an English occupational surname. It describes a nail maker, from a period in history in the 13th century when this was a separate guild of specialised makers. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century word "naegel", with or without the addition of the agent suffix "-er", meaning a "worker in". This is one of that interesting group of early surnames which indicate the particularly important and skilled areas of medieval employment.Examples of these include Mason, Fletcher, Shepherd, Smith, Miller, and Fuller, but there were several hundred recognised trades, most of which were formed into trade guilds. The medieval nail-maker was a vital member of the ship building and construction trade, the majority of houses being built of wood. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Early examples of the surname include: William Nayl of Berkshire in 1255, James le Nayler in the Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire in 1273, and John le Naylere of Northumberland in 1292. Thomas Naylor was an early emigrant to the American colonies, being recorded as resident in Virginia in 1622. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is believed to be that of Stephen le Nailere. This was dated 1231, in the "Calendar of the Patent Rolls", in the city of London, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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