This unusual surname has three distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Piller may be of Old French origin, and a nickname for a catchpoll, or other officer of the law whose job it was to seize the assets of debtors in default of payment. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Old French "pilleur", pillager, plunderer, and a quotation from "Promptorium Parvulorum" (a medieval dictionary) reads, "Pylowre, or he that pelyth other men, as cachpolls or odyre lyk; pilator, depredator". Early examples of the surname from this source include: Roger le Pilur in the 1246 Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire, and John le Piler (Somerset, 1327). The second possibility is that Piller is of French topographical origin, from residence by a pillar or conspicuous column, deriving from the Old French "piler", a pillar. One Walter atte-piler was recorded in the Close Rolls of Oxfordshire, circa 1282. Finally, the surname may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a topographical name for someone who lived by a stream or creek, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "pyll", creek, with the addition of "er", implying "dweller at". One Thomas Piler was noted in the 1332 Subsidy Rolls of Surrey. On October 14th 1795, Elizabeth Piller and Richard Loveridge were married at St. Swithin's, Worcester, Worcestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Attepiler, which was dated 1231, in the "Close Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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