This interesting surname with variant spellings Teal and Teall, is derived from the middle English "tele" meaning teal, which would be any of the various small ducks, that are related to the mallard that frequent ponds, lakes and marshes. The surname therefore originated as a nickname for a person considered to resemble the water-bird in some way. The surname is first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below). One, Matilda Tele is recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire (1273). Other early recordings of the surname from church register include; the marriage of Edmunde Teale to Mawdlen Battell, on September 17th 1580, at St. Giles Cripplegate, London; on November 5th 1589, Agnis Teale, who married Richard Oliver, at St. Botolph Bishopsgate, London; at St. Brides, Fleet Street, Brigette Teale who married Jhon Mychell on August 16th 1590; and the marriage of Ellen Teale to Thomas Garton on February 23rd 1631, in Radcliffe on Trent, Nottinghamshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Tele, which was dated 1201, The Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.