This most interesting and ancient surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a variant of Ayling, which derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "aetheling", a prince of the royal blood, a derivative of "aethel", noble, and which was also used as a personal name, although it was popular as a nickname among Anglo-Saxons before and after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It was probably used as a nickname for someone who held himself aloof, or to one who was related to or worked for someone who held authority in an area.The surname is distinguished by being first recorded in the early 11th Century (see below), while the personal name "Ailligg, Eiling" appears in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1230. Other early examples of the surname include: Aedwardus Aetheling, mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Kent in 1176; Gilbert Aedeling, recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire in 1177; and Reginald Aylyng, listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. Recordings from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Alice Ayling and Thomas Hodges on January 23rd 1568, at Rogate in Sussex, while Mary, daughter of George and Mary Aylin, was christened on December 18th 1774, at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eadmund Aetheling, which was dated 1006, in the "Saxon Diplomatic Codex", during the reign of Ethelred the Unready, Saxon Ruler of England, 978 - 1016. 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.
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