Recorded in several spelling including Feline, Felin, Fellon, Filan, Fillan, Fillon, Filoniere, Fillioniere, Fellenor and Felliner, this is a surname of French origins. As Felin, Filon or Fillon it was quite popular and the derivation is probably the ancient word "fils" meaning a young boy. As such it would have been a medieval baptismal personal name for the youngest son in a family. However the meaning when the suffix "-iere" is added the name becomes much rarer, and the meaning apparently quite different. It then becomes occupational, and may have described an early banker or money lender, or at least a person who others may have considered had struck it rich. This is something of a pardox in that the surname when recorded in England, hardly describes people who "struck it rich". These were Huguenot protestant refugees, most of whom were very impoverished, and who had had to flee from France in the 17th and 18th centuries, to avoid probable death at the hands of the agents of King Louis X1V. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving church registers both in France and England include Perrine Filon, a witness at St. Symphorien, Main-et-Loire, France, on November 10th 1654, Thomas Fillinier, who married Martha Wheeler at St Margarets church, Westminster, on February 2nd 1668, Rene Fillon, a witness at Ambillou-Chateau, Maine-et-Loire, on July 10th 1670, and Pierre Mathieu Felloniere, christened at the French Huguenot church, Threadneedle Street, in the city of London, on November 8th 1730.
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