This ancient surname generally considered to be Anglo-Scottish, has several possible sources. These are that it may be a topographical name for someone who lived at or near a large house called a Hall, or that it could be an occupational name for a person who was employed at such a place. In this case the derivation can be either from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "heall", or the Old German and later Anglo-Saxon "halla", or even the Old Norse-Viking "holl". All have the same meaning of a large house or building. However it can also be a locational surname from any of the places called Hall. These include the villages of Hall in the counties of Lancashire, Carmarthenshire, and Roxburghshire. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving rolls and charters include: Nichol del Hall, given as being a "merchant of the duke of Albany" in the year 1400, and William de Hall, who held lands in Irvine, Scotland, in 1426. John Hall, who was born in Kent in 1584, emigrated to New England in 1632, and founded a notable American family. His descendants included Lyman Hall, a signatory of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Asaph Hall an early astronomer, and Stanley Hall, a pioneer in psychophysics. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Warin de Halla. This was dated 1178, in the "Pipe Rolls" of the county of Essex, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.