This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from either of two places. Firstly, the surname may be from Helion Bumpstead in Essex, which was recorded as "Bummesteda" and "Bunsteda" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Bumpsted Helyun" in the 1238 Subsidy Rolls. "Bumstead" is a contracted form of the Olde English pre 7th Century "bune", reeds, with "hamstede", homestead. The place was eld by Tihel de Helion (from "Hellean" in Brittany) in 1086 (Domesday Book); hence "Helion Bumpstead". Secondly, the surname may be from Healing in Lincolnshire, recorded as "Heg(h)elinge" in the Domesday Book, and as "Hailinges" in the 1180 Pipe Rolls; the placename derives from the Olde English personal name "Haegael", with "-ing", people of, tribe, hence "(settlement of) Haegel's people". The surname is first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below), and the modern forms are Helling and Hellings, the latter representing the genitive case, meaning "of Helion" or "of Healing". Ralph de Helling is noted in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire (1191). Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Anthony, son of Nathaniell Hellings, on April 9th 1617, at Tiverton, Devon; the marriage of Margerie Helling and Michael Southwood, on April 27th 1617, at Venn Ottery, Devon; and the marriage of Henry Hellings and Elizabeth Starling, on September 2nd 1714, at Great Oakley, Essex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Helion, which was dated 1190, in the "pipe Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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