This is an Olde English pre 7th century tribal name. It derives from an English 'clan' known to have inhabited East Anglia and possibly Kent, in the period before the Norman Invasion of 1066, and known as the 'Illa'. These people are today commemorated in such places as Illington in Norfolk, first recorded as 'Illytone' in the year 952 a.d. and translating as the home (tun) of the Illa-ing (tribe). Illingworth village in Yorkshire may have the same origins, but is more likely to derive from the Olde English 'Ingle-wurth', an 'ingle' being a hollow or valley in a 'wurth' - a wood. The earliest surname recordings are in Kent, but the rarity suggests that the name has 'travelled' from some other place. 'Lost' medieval hamlets and villages are a feature of British social history. At least seven thousand surnames are known to derive from places which have now completely disappeared, often without any record, only the surname remaining to provide evidence of a former existence. The famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley suggested that this surname may also have derived from the Anglo-Saxon baptismal name 'Aylwin' and this is possible. He quotes a Walter Illing of Leicester in the 1273 Hundred Rolls for that city as an example. Other recordings include Henry Illen of Clerkenwell, London, in 1502, and in 1750 Martha Illing who married one George Harrison at St Georges chapel, Mayfair. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Ylinge, which was dated 1272, the Hundred Rolls of the county of Kent, during the reign of King Edward 1st, 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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