This interesting surname with variant spellings Milns, Millns, etc. is a patronymic of Milne, itself a topographical name for someone who lived near a mill, deriving from the Middle English "mille, milne", Olde English pre 7th Century "mylen(e)" meaning "to grind". The mill, whether powered by water, wind, or occasionally by animals, was na 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). Church Records include William Milnes who married Elixabeth Carpenter on September 17th 1741 in St. James', Clerkenwell, London, and Richard, son of Leonard Mylnes who was christened on September 10th 1575 in St. Gregory by St. Paul, London. Richard Monckton Milnes (1809 - 1885), first Baron Houghton, was a friend of Tennyson, Hallam and Thackeray while at Cambridge, and he pursued a career in politics. 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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