Recorded in the spellings of Filer, Filler, and Philler, this is an English medieval occupational surname, although for some nameholders it may have Norman or French antecedents. It originates either from the pre 7th century Olde English "feol" and the later 11th century "filan" and describes a person who makes steel files to smooth or polish, or it is from the Norman French "fileur", introduced into Britain after the 1066 Norman Conquest, and describes a spinner of "fil", an early word for thread. Both origins are equally possible as both jobs were equally important in the developing industry of the 12th century onwards. Early examples of the surname recording suggest that nameholders originating from the West Country region of Gloucester and Worcester may be more associated with the textile, and hence French origin, but this is largely conjectural. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from authentic rolls and charters of the period include John le Fyler in the Subsidy Rolls of the city of Bedford in the year 1309, and John Fyller, christened at St Botolphs Bishopgate, London, on August 21st 1566. The first recording of the surname is probably that of John le Filur in the 1275 Subsidy Rolls of the city of Worcester. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307.
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