This ancient surname is of English origin. There are at least two possible originations. The first is that it is locational or topographical, and as such derives from 'Ling', apparently a former parish near Bridgewater, in Somerset or from one of the "lynge's", a term which in medieval times was in common usage in East Anglia, and specifically Lincolnshire, and describes a "heath". The second possibility is that the name is occupational and probably a nickname for a fisherman or fish merchant, who specialised in catching the fish called 'ling'. The possibility that this is the case, at least with some nameholders, is to some extent proven by the coat of arms (see below) which includes three ling within the blazon. The early recordings of the surname include Roger de Lyng, who was bailiff of Norwich in 1370, and Ellen Ling, a widow, who married James Bland, given as a draper, at the church of St. Mary Aldermary in 1579. Amongst the earliest of settlers to the New American colonies were the brothers Henry and John Linge, who were (quote) 'Alive in Virginea, on February 15th 1623', whilst slightly later on February 7th 1635, John Ling embarked from London on the ship "Hopewell" bound for Barbadoes. The coat of arms granted in ireland has the blazon of a blue field charged with a gold chevron between three lings heads fessewise erased in silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Ling which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Norfolk" during the reign of King Edward 1, 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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