SHAIL HISTORY PAGE
The Shail , Shaile, Shayle, Shale name:
A reference to the name is found in the book "Dymock Down The Ages", a fascinating village
history written by the late Rev.J.E. Gethyn Jones about the village where he was vicar in
The second edition was last published in 1985 and is now apparently out of print.
I have a small number of copies and will be collecting more as/when they appear on the
It is rich in facts fables and photographs. In the section on Dymock families he writes:
The name Shayle can be traced back in parish and village records for nearly 700 years.
The first mention of the family - one Philip de Shehulle - comes in a document dealing
with the transfer of land in the Ryton-Ketford area in the year 1287.
From time to time during the course of the next two and a half centuries Shayles - the name is spelt in many
ways - came forward to give evidence at Inquisitions, to witness deeds or figure in the
proceedings of the Consistory Court of the Forest Deanery.
Little is known of these early Shayles, but from the company in which they appear it may
be inferred that they were of the "free
tenants" of that period. These free tenants were yeoman-farmers of later generations.
This assumption seems to be justified when the church registers are consulted. The name
Shayle appears among the entries of the first year of record, 1538, and in the course of the next
thirty-eight years there are many entries relating to the family.
In the seventeenth century they occupied the Callow and farmed a great deal of land - an
entry of 1667 in our burial register records the death of a Thomas Shaile de Callow, Gent.
This was the height of the family's fortune. They have, since that time, not been quite so
Some day, perhaps, fickle fortune may smile again, and this ancient family be found farming
broad acres of Dymock land.
Ryton, Ketford and the Forest of Dean, mentioned in this text are all within a few miles of Dymock.
The village is located about 13 miles to the NW of Gloucester on the border of the county of Gloucestershire
It also borders the county of Herefordshire and the diocese of Worcester. It is 4 miles from
the small town of Ledbury. It dates back to Roman times. It is built on what is to believed
to be the lost Roman town of Macatonium.
One explanation for the village name is as follows:
The early Saxons are believed to have built their village outside the limits of the destroyed
Roman town, called the old site Dim (obscured, obliterated or destroyed)
Mac ( abbreviating Macatonium).
Even today the name is pronounced Dim-uk or Dim-ok. by the locals.
I have collected numerous Shail, Shaile, Shayle, Shale family records from various sources and
entered them on a computer genealogy program..
You can download that data from here .
The file is zipped-up in order to reduce download time. In its zipped form it is called wadley.exe
because that is the name of some of my other ancestors
When you have downloaded it double-click on it. It will self-extract to a file called wadley.ged
Unless you change the folder that file will be created in c:\wadley .
You can import that file to most geneology programs. It is known as a Gedcom file.
A typical geneology shareware program can be downloaded from
You can contact other Shail/Shale/Shayle/Shailes via this Yahoo group.
To subscribe send an email to
I have made some maps of the geographical distribution of Shails and the variants of the name taken from the 1881 census.
Click here for the index.
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