This surname is an unusual and interesting dialectal variant of Mill, a name of English and Scottish origin, which is either topographical for someone who lived near a mill, or an occupational name for a worker at a mill, or indeed the miller himself. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century "mylen(e)", the middle English "mille", and the latin "molina", a derivative of "molere", to grind. The mill, whether powered by water, wind or animals was an important centre of every medieval settlement; it was normally operated by an agent of the local landowner and individual peasants were compelled to come to him and have their corn ground into flour, a proportion of the ground corn being kept by the miller in lieu of payment. Two early marriages of namebearers in London are between one, Mary Mell and Miles Tompkins on October 8th 1666, at St. James's, Dukes Place and William Mell and Elizabeth Wood on April 19th 1573 at St. Lawrence Poultney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de la Melle, which was dated 1200, Curia Rolls, Sussex, during the reign of King John "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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