This interesting surname is a patronymic of Milne, itself a topographical name for someone who lived near a mill, deriving from the Middle English "mille, milne", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "mylen(e)" meaning "to grind". The mill, whether powered by water, wind, or occasionally by animals, was an important centre in every medieval settlement. It was normally operated by an agent of the local landowner, and individual peasants were compelled to come to him to have their corn ground into flour, a proportion of the ground corn being kept by the miller by way of payment. The surname dates back to the late 13th Century (see below). Variations in the spelling of the surname include Milns, Millns, Millens, Millans, and Millons. London Church Records show the marriage of Katherin Millins to Robert Gynnue on June 14th 1612 at St. Katherine by the Tower, and the christening of Edward, son of William and Anne Millins, on March 18th 1710 at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard atte Mulne, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 1st, 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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