This very interesting "Huguenot" name is French in origin, although oddly the first recording in England is that of a Dutchman! The surname, with variant spellings Bellows, Beloe, and Bellow, is found heraldically in both Cambrai as "Billouart" and in Normandy as "Billouet", and there appears to be several possible original meanings. The first is as a nickname form, not from William but Robillon, itself a form of Robert. The second is as a metonymic occupational name for a "Coiner", for the old French "Billon", whilst the third is habitational from a place called Billom in France. In England the recordings include Charles Billo at Huguenot Church, Threadneedle Street in 1675 and Paul Billows recorded at St. Dunstans Church, Stepney on March 23rd 1677, a witness at the christening of his daughter Elizabeth. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter Van Billowes, which was dated July 15th 1586, a witness at the church of St. Peter's, Cornwall, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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