I'm fully aware of the many orthographic variants of the Delegal surname.:-)However, the orthographic evidence in this case is unusually significant because the name "Delegal" and "de Legal" are clearly formed from the same basic French semantic units:de + le + Gal.Deriving "Delegal" from "de Legal" is far more logical than the traditional etymology, which attempts unconvincingly to extract "Delegal" from the surname "de l'Aigle."If Delegal researchers cling to the old "de l'Aigle" myth, they'll likely reach a dead end in their efforts to trace their lineage to Aigle, Normandy and William the Conqueror.Devoted de l'Aigle descendants haven't even succeeded in doing that, though they have a far likelier chance of success precisely because their surname has a long, well-documented history, both in France and in England.
"Delegal" is with a high degree of certainty NOT a derivative of "de l'Aigle."Most probably it comes from "de Legal," which is a nobiliary construction newly invented by René-François Le Gal, a wealthy Breton who ingratiated himself with Louis XIV and subsequently styled himself "Marquis de Legal."Philip Delegal appears from the evidence to have been one of the first--perhaps THE first--to use the surname "Delegal," and we know for a fact that not much earlier René-François Le Gal had become "Marquis de Legal."When two such novel but nearly identical names appear in close chronological succession and geographical proximity, given the other facts we know about Philip, it's a logical inference that "de Legal" was contracted to "Delegal" when the first Delegals arrived as Huguenot refugees in England after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
Whether the discovery of primary sources ultimately validates my theory that Philip was related to the Marquis de Legal (also written "de Légal") is an open matter.Protestantism was outlawed in France, Huguenot churches were burned, and many traces of their "heretical" beliefs obliterated.If the Marquis de Legal was Philip's father, it's highly unlikely he would have wanted anything remaining that would prove his former relationship with a woman (mistress?) by whom he had Protestant offspring who illegally immigrated to enemy territory (England).He had become, after all, the husband of a Catholic noblewoman, a courtier at Versailles, and a general serving a Catholic king with whom he had found special favor.However, searching for any documentary evidence linking "Delegal" to "de Legal" will likely prove to be a far more fertile field of genealogical research than continuing to insist on Delegal family ties to the "de l'Aigle" nobility and maintaining without the least evidence, for example, that Isaac de l'Aigle of Saintonge, France was Philip's father.He was not, and had a family of his own elsewhere in southern England.
I hope any Delegal descendants reading this will pursue Philip's ancestry with renewed vigor and not feel bound by colorful family myths to believe they're descendants of William the Conqueror.Some still might be, but absent a great deal more evidence, the origin of "Delegal" has a far simpler explanation as a variant of the common French surname "Le Gal" to which the nobiliary "de" was added, probably no earlier than the late seventeenth century.