Recorded as Bill, Bille the diminutive Billie, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It has two possible origins. Firstly it may derive from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bil", meaning a sword or halberd, and hence somebody called Bil after the sword or possibly as a nickname of occupation for one who made such weapons. Secondly it may be a form of the Norman-French given name William, although this is unlikely as the nickname as Bill does not seem to be recorded before the15th century. The surname was first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Sewinus Bille, in the Assize Court Rolls of Warwickshire in 1221, whilst Willelmus filius Bille, appears in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Yorkshire in 1308. John Bill aged 13 years was an early settler in the New World Colonies. The first of the surname, he left London on the ship "Hopewell" bound for New England in April 1635. A coat of arms associated with the surname has the blazon of a silver shield charged with a stork proper holding in its dexter foot an ancient battle-axe. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Griffin Bili, and dated 1188, in the Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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