This interesting name is of English origin and has three possible sources, the first of which is from a diminutive of the female personal name "Elizabeth" which was very popular in Medieval Europe and means "my God (is my) oath", from the Hebrew "Elishera". The second origin of the modern surname is from the medieval nickname "Lilie" used for someone with particularly fair hair or skin. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century "lilie", lily, from the Latin word "lilium". The surname can also be locational, from either of the places called "Lilley" in Hertfordshire and Berkshire. The former means "clearing where flax was grown", from the Old English "lin", flax, and "leah", clearing, while the place in Berks is "Lillingleah", meaning "Lilla's wood". The modern surname can be found as Lilly, Lille,Lil(l)ey, Lil(l)ie and Lely. The marriage of Thomas Lilly and Ales Broughe was recorded at St. Mildred Poultry, London, on April 23rd 1576. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan Lilie, (witness), which was dated 1247, in the Bedfordshire Assize Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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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