This interesting and uncommon name is an Anglicized variant of the ancient Scottish locational surname Echlin, which derives from the lands of Echline in the parish of Dalmeny, West Lothian. The placename is thought to be derived from the Gaelic "eich", horse, steed. The surname development in Scotland includes John de Heychlyn, who held lands in Garmylton in 1319; John de Eychlin, a charter witness in Coldingham in 1332; and William Echelin or Echelyn, of St. Andrews diocese, who was granted the perpetual vicarage of Inchemacbany in Aberdeen in 1345. A branch of the Scottish Echlin family came to County Down in Ireland early in the 17th Century, and the name was well established in Ireland by the end of the 18th Century in a variety of forms, ranging from Echlin and Hechlin to Hicklin(g) and Hickland. Among the recordings of the name in Ireland is that of the christening of Henry, son of James and Eleanor Hickland, in Clones, County Monaghan, on December 15th 1810. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Eghlin, (swore fealty to England), which was dated 1296, in the documents relating to Scotland in the Public Record Office, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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