This is a surname of Olde English origins. It derives from the three villages called 'Billington' in the counties of Bedfordshire, Lancashire and Staffordshire. All these places are recorded in the 12th century, although the Staffordshire village is earlier recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book. The meaning is 'the settlement (tun) of the Billingas', a pre 7th century people who were known for their fighting qualities. Locational surnames were usually given to people who moved to new areas, as an easy form of identification. As 'new areas' may well have been the next village a mile away, this may account for why Billington as a surname is well recorded in the above counties, and particularly in Lancashire. The early recordings include examples such as Johannes de Bylyngton in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire, and William de Billington in the Lay Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire in 1332. An epi-centre of the name was Woodplumpton, Lancashire, Antony Billington being recorded there as a 'yeoman' in 1557. Examples taken from church registers include Dorothy Billington, who married William Hurston at Cardington, Bedford, on May 18th 1588, Jane Billington, christened at Mucklestone, Staffordshire, on December 1st 1631, and George Billington, who married Rebecca Greenwood at Cranfield, Bedfordshire, on July 2nd 1663. The name also travelled to Ireland, and it was here that the coat of arms was granted in 1696. The blazon is quartered blue and red, on a gold saltire engrailed, five black fleur de lis. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Billington, which was dated 1212, recorded in Baines 'History of Lancashire', during the reign of King John of England, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. 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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