Recorded in several forms as shown below, this is an English surname. It has three possible origins. The first as Lilian, Lillan, Lilion, and Lillion, is a diminutive of the female personal name "Elizabeth" which was very popular in Medieval Europe. The translation is "My god is my oath", from the Hebrew "Elishera". The second origin of the modern surname is from the medieval "Lilie" used for someone with particularly fair hair or skin, from the Old English pre 7th Century "lilie" and the Latin word "lilium". Thirdly it may in some cases be locational, from either of the places called "Lilley" in Hertfordshire and Berkshire. The former means "clearing where flax was grown", whilst the place in Berks is from "Lillingleah", meaning "The wood of the Lilla people". Early examples of the surname recording in surviving church registers include the christening of John Lilley at St. Botolph without Aldgate, city of London, on November 23rd 1578, whilst John Lilion married Mary Dickenson at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone on June 12th 1804. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan Lilie,. This was dated 1247, in the Bedfordshire Assize Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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