This notable surname is regarded as Anglo-Scottish. It has over twenty-five entries in the British "Dictionary of National Biography", and no less than thirty coats of arms. It is or rather was, occupational, and described a corn miller, or at least someone in charge of a mill. The origination is from the pre 7th century Olde English word "mylene", and the later "milne", but ultimately from the Roman (Latin) "molere", meaning to grind. Job-descriptive surnames denoted the occupation of the namebearer, but only became hereditary when a son followed a father into the same line of business.The miller enjoyed a privileged position in medieval society, the mill being an important centre in every medieval settlement, and farmers gathered there to have their corn ground into flour. A proportion of the ground corn was kept by the miller by way of payment, and this was sometimes a bone of contention. Amongst the eraly recordings we have Reginald Miller in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Sussex in 1327, whilst in May 1635, James Miller, aged 18, was an early emigrant to the new states of America. He embarked from London on the ship "Plaine Joan" bound for Virginia. James Miller (1812 - 1864), born in Scotland, was the surgeon to Queen Victoria, and a notable bearer of the name. One of the earliest coats of arms granted to the family has the blazon of ermine charged with three wolves' heads erased, in silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Muller. This was dated 1296, in the "Subsidy Tax Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. 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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