Recorded as Hildich, Hilditch, and the London dialectals Illedge, Illidge and Illditch, this is an English surname. It is locational from a now "lost" medieval village believed to have been situated in the border lands between the counties of Cheshire and Staffordshire. This is an assumption based upon the prevalence of surviving recordings of the surname in those areas. Three thousand villages and hamlets giving rise to surnames, are known to have disappeared from the landscape of the British Isles over the past five centuries. This is from a combination of changes in agricultural practice, natural disasters such as the Black Death of 1348 or the Bubonic Plage of 1665, in which a quarter of the population perished, or to the widespread practice of "clearing" the Common Lands to make sheep pastures during the height of the wool-trade. The placename means "The hill by the ditch", probably a reference to a prehistoric dike, of which there are many examples. Recordings from early church registers include the marriage of Ann Hillditch to John Seymour at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on March 8th 1691, and Edward Illidge, the son of George Illidge, who was christened at St Andrews Holborn, on December 22nd 1743. The first recorded spelling of the family name is possibly that of Randle Hilditch of Alsager. This was dated 1590, in Wills Register for North West England, at the city Chester. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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