Hall Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Hall Meaning
The name could be locational or occupational; one
who lived by a hall; or one who worked in a hall (perhaps as a servant).
comes from the Old Norse holl, a spacious residence. It
has been
suggested that Hall was a family name with a meaning of “kind” or
“forgiving” – from the belief that Viking thanes were eternally
benevolent to those who lived within his hall.
Hall may also have come to England through the Norman “de Aula”
became Hall.
The name cropped up in different parts of the country,
probably from different roots.

Hall Resources on

Select Hall Ancestry

England. The surname Hall is said to have originated in Lincolnshire
in 1090 when
Arthur Fitzwilliam changed his name to Arthur Hall to distinguish
himself from
his elder brother of the same name. Their home in the 16th
century was
Greatford Hall in Lincolnshire.

William de Aula, descended probably from an
earlier de Aula family, was living in the early 14th century in
Wiltshire and was
forebear of a prominent landowning Hall family in Bradford-on-Avon.

Halls in NE England.
There was Hall

on the English/Scots border, one of the many in that
called reivers because of their banditry.
These Halls were described as follows:

“A large widely spread clan, at
one time the most powerful in Redesdale, the Halls were well-hated and
on both sides of the border. They were
considered a clan to whom no quarter should be given.”

Halls were also found in
the Scottish valleys of Teviotdale and Liddesdale.
They were particularly dangerous in the 16th
century before the time of Border pacification.
A Hall by the name of “Mad Jack Ha” who lived at
Otterburn was later hung at Tyburn in London for
his participation in the 1715 Rebellion.

prominent merchants and shipowners at Hull on the Yorkshire coast. One line of the family got into rope-making
at Barton nearby, starting in 1767.
Hall’s Barton Ropery Co. prospered in the 19th century and
remained in
business until 1989. Meanwhile George
of this family stayed with seafaring and shipowning.
His three sons – George, Thomas and John
– emigrated to New Zealand in 1852. It
was the youngest son John Hall who entered politics there and rose
through the
ranks to become New Zealand’s Prime Minister in 1879

A majority of Halls
lived in the north of England, according to the 19th century
distribution of
the Hall name.

Scotland. The de
Aula/Hall name was brought to Scotland
by the Normans. The Halls of
Fulbar in Renfrewshire dated from 1370 but died out around 1550.
Andrew Hall was
a merchant in Kirkudbright in the late 1500’s. His son John was
in the drafting of the 1611 King James Bible.
One record of a Hall family in Selkirk on the Scottish borders
with the marriage of Henry Hall and Helen Caldwals there in 1713.

Ireland. A
number of English and Scots Halls left the Border area for Ulster at
the time
of the plantations in the 17th century:

  • John
    Hall was recorded as a tenant at Magheriboy in Fermanagh as early as
  • the
    Rev. Thomas Hall was ordained as the Presbyterian minister at Larne in
    in 1646
  • while
    Francis Hall from Antrim acquired Narrow Water Castle in county
    Down in 1670. The Halls have lived there
    since that time and Roger Hall died there in 2007.

Armagh have the largest number of Halls in Ireland today

Most Halls in America have been of English origin:

  • John Hall who came to Newport,
    Rhode Island from Bradford in Wiltshire in 1639.
  • George
    Hall from Devon who was one of the
    founders of Taunton in Bristol county, Massachusetts in the same
  • Halls
    from Kent who settled in Middletown, Connecticut in 1650.
  • and another John Hall, who arrived in the 1650’s and
    was the forebear of the Halls of Yarmouth.

A third John Hall, who arrived in 1633 and
settled in Wallingford Connecticut, was the forebear of perhaps the
prominent of these early Halls. His
descendant Lyman hall was a signer of the Declaration of Independence
and later
Governor of Georgia. One of Lyman’s
contemporaries Colonel Street Hall fought on the American side in the
War; another, Colonel Elihu Hall, who was a wealthy Loyalist, left for
London at
time and died soon after.

Halls in America
did not just come from England. A number arrived from Ireland and
some from
Germany and Sweden. Hall here was
probably the anglicized name of their German or Swedish name.

Caribbean. There was one very notable
Hall family in
Jamaica. The first of this family that has been traced was John
born in 1722. The original family records
are those that were kept by his wife Allegonda Boom.

John Hall from Ulster
had enlisted in the British First Dragoon Guards and been sent to
Canada in the
1830’s. He and his wife Jane eventually
stayed there, settling in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
These Halls were generally Protestant.
But some
became Catholic

Australia. George and
Ellen Hall from Sussex arrived in
Adelaide in South Australia in 1849. On
arrival George listed himself as a soft drinks manufacturer.
However, that was not to happen until two
years later when he founded his company Geo. Hall & Sons,
in Stonie ginger beer. Geo. Hall
& Sons was a successful soft drinks business in Australia until
sale in 1972 to the Coca Cola bottlers.

Daniel Hall from Cheshire had arrived in South Australia in 1839, ten
years earlier, but his life was more of a struggle.
Within a year both his wife Ann and daughter
Elizabeth were dead and he was seeking relief.
His son William, however, did prosper as a farmer in the
Flinders Range. Other Halls of the family
their home
at Lyndoch in the Barossa valley.


Hall Miscellany

The de Aula/Hall Family of Bradford.  The
family of Hall, prominent in the
Wiltshire town of Bradford-upon-Avon from the 14th to the 18th century,
their name from an earlier de Aula family.

William de Aula, his wife Katherine, and his son Thomas were living
there in the early 1300’s in the reign of Edward II.
William, son of John de Aula, was presented
in 1350 to the chapel of Barley in Bradford parish. Thomas
atte Halle was alive in 1350 and
1360.  He was succeeded by his son Thomas
Halle who came of age in 1373.  The name
became Hall with Thomas Hall who was alive in 1450.

John Hall probably built the present Hall
mansion in Bradford.   He died in
leaving a son and heir, Thomas. Thomas
Hall, later knighted, was a Royalist and forfeited his estates in 1647.
He was succeeded in 1663 by his son John,
last of his line, who died in 1711.

Hall Border Reivers.  Among the Hall Border reivers in Redesdale in the late
1500’s, the historian George Fraser mentioned two by name.
Eddie Hall he described as “that famous
thief;” and George Hall of Bordupp as “a notorious thief and murderer.”  George had served as a mercenary in the Low
Countries and, because of this service, had been allowed to resettle in

after the Border
pacification, there was this report of a Hall, sent to Ireland, who had

Hall of Elsdon, known as
Long Parcies Jocke, was reported to have returned
out of Ireland by what passed we know not, a riotous liver, ill reputed
much suspected, having nothing to maintain himself with but by keeping
alehouse.  This information was
gleaned from a survey of all
notorious, lewd, idle, and misbehaved persons in Redesdale.”

George Hall’s Seafaring Escapades.  George Hall
was born in Hull in 1782, the eleventh child of John and Eleanor Hall.  John Hall was evidently a sea captain and
George followed him into a seagoing career, becoming a cabin boy at the
age of

His early seagoing career
coincided with the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and he was
detained by the
French on at least two occasions.

his first ship was captured he was just a cabin boy but he slipped away
and eventually
got back to Hull by way of a circuitous voyage and by pretending to be
American crew member on a couple of United States ships.

In 1805 he was on another ship taken by the
French.  This time he was held for almost
six years.  George managed to escape in
1810 but was soon recaptured.  Later that
year he managed to get away once more . After walking across France to
English Channel coast, he obtained passage to England from smugglers,
landed near Rye on New Year’s Day 1811.

George returned to Hull and rose through the
ranks to become a captain He married Grace Williamson, the daughter of
a local
merchant, in 1817.  The couple had five
children – George, Ann, Thomas, John and Grace.

The Halls of Narrow Water Castle.  In 1670
the Narrow Water estate in county Down came into the possession of
Hall.  His family had originated in
Holland but had sought sanctuary in England a century before.
With his
wife Mary and their four children Francis settled here, building Mount
Hall, an
Irish long house, that became the Hall residence for the next century
and a
half.  By astute marriage alliances the Halls later acquired much
land for their estates.

In 1816 the
Newry architect Thomas Duff was commissioned by Roger Hall to design an
Elizabethan revival-style house adjoining Mount Hall.  That is
still the
Hall family home today.  Some building materials were imported by
sailing ships.  Granite from Mullaghglass
was also used.  The furniture, panelling and carving was the work
Curran & Sons of Lisburn.  The house took twenty years to
complete and
Duff did not survive to see it finished.

Roger Hall died in 1865 and willed his estates to his
brother Madden,
and on Madden’s death, to his nephew William James Hall.  He was
the son
of the Rev Savage Hall, rector of Loughgall.
William joined the Royal Artillery and later developed tea
in Ceylon, leaving his uncle Madden to look after the estates.

Roger Toby Hall served and suffered in the
Great War and was invalided out to Gibraltar where he met and married
Patron.  Their return was to estates much
reduced as a result of the Land Acts of those times.  Roger bred
and greyhounds and enjoyed riding despite his shrapnel and shell-shock

At the outbreak of the Second World War the
Castle was commandeered for military billets.  Both British and
military personnel were stationed there.  Post-War the Castle for
a while
functioned as a hotel.  By 1952 it closed and was converted into
flats.   Today the castle is a venue
for conferences, wedding and the like.

Halls in America by Country of Origin

Country Numbers Percent
England  3,697    68
Ireland  1,127    20
Scotland    317     6
Germany    295     5
Sweden    120     1
Total  5,596   100

John Hall and Allegonda Boom in Jamaica.  In 1758 John Hall, aged 36, married Allegonda Boom,
aged 21, at Port Royal in Jamaica.  John
was a tavern keeper in Kingston and this apparently was his second
marriage.  Allegonda joined him in

They lived in a place and at a time when death
rates, due to yellow fever and malaria, were shockingly high. The
family only
made it through this generation because Allegonda had nine children
dying in 1775 at the young age of 37.  Of these nine, four died in
infancy and
five survived.

What happened to John
after Allegonda died?  He married
again.  And his new wife was also called
Allegonda!  John Hall married the widow
Allegonda Tweerts in 1789 and their baby daughter, naturally named
was born a year later.  John died in 1797
and his second wife Allegonda lived until 1812.

The Halls of Niagara-on-the-Lake – Protestant or Catholic?  John and Jane Hall hailed from Ulster and had arrived in Niagara-on-the-Lake in
the 1830’s.  Initially their children there were baptized in
the Anglican Church.

That was until one
stormy night when John mounted his horse to go from suburban
Irishtown to
St. Mark’s Rectory to get the rector to come and baptize one of the
an infant in danger of death.  It was a stormy and forbidding
night and
the rector
refused to go, postponing the trip until the morrow.

Made of sterner stuff and
believing in the efficacy of baptism in opening the gates of Heaven,
called upon the Catholic priest.  He
more ado mounted on the horse behind him and rode out into the wild
night on an
errand that seemed to both of them of vast importance.

From that day John told his
wife to bring up the children in the Catholic religion.
He was most severe throughout his life in
seeing that the children attended to their religious duties.


Hall Names

  • Arthur Fitzwilliam Hall was in 1090
    the first of the Halls in England.
  • Charles Hall was an early American
    explorer of the Arctic.
  • Sir John Hall was New Zealand
    Prime Minister in 1878 and an early advocate of the female vote.
  • Wes Hall was a great fast bowler in the West Indian cricket team of the 1960’s.
  • Sir Peter Hall is a well-known English theatre and film

Select Hall Numbers Today

  • 130,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Essex)
  • 184,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 66,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


Select Hall and Like Surnames

The border between Scotland and England was a lawless area for well over three hundred years and the subject of many stories and hearsays.  Families on both sides of the border took part in the raids, attacking villages and stealing cattle on the way.  Eventually, following the unification of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603, the area was pacified.  There were mass executions and banishments, many to the new Protestant colony in Ulster.  These were some of the prominent Border family surnames at that time that you can check out.



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