This interesting surname is English. It is recorded in a vast range of spellings although most are quite rare and some extinct. these include Gillian, Gillan, Gillon, Gillion, Gelling, Gellion, Jillions, Gillions, Jelling, Jellings, Jillings, and others. It is a dialectal variant or short form of the medieval given name Julian, itself coming from the Latin Julianus, and Juliana, its feminine style. They were both names of saints and both names were equally popular, the latter particularly as Gillian. The surname dates back to the early 13th Century, (see below), and early examples of recordings include John Juliane in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1275, and Henry Julian in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1327. Later church recordings taken from the surviving church registers of the city of London include Anys Gyllian who married George Foulkes on November 5th 1597, at St. Mary Somerset, Jacques Gillon, the son of a French Huguenot, who was christened on July 3rd 1604, at Threadneedle Street, London, and Mounger Gellan who married Mary Talbot on May 11th 1686, at St. Katherine by the Tower. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Julian, which was dated 1200, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King John, 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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