Recorded in a number of spellings including Rillan, Rillen, Rilling, Rilings, and possibly others, this is a very rare English surname. It is residential and describes a person who lived at one of the places called Ryland in Lincolnshire or Rylands in Nottinghamshire, or just possibly Ryal and Ryle in Northumberland, Ryhill in East and West Yorkshire, and possibly other places as well. All describe villages or settlements where rye (corn) was grown! Curiously none of the places seems to have been recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, although this was probably because Northumberland was not under Norman control but Scottish, whilst Yorkshire showed its usual refusal to buckle down to anybody, and was in retribution laid waste by the Normans and the two Rylands seems to have been late devlopers.The growing of corn was also a change in social behaviour, and may have reflected a move towards a more pastoral existence. The surname is recorded in the early surviving church registers of the city of London and examples include Elonora Rilings who married Ambrose Jennings at St Martins in the Field, Westminster in 1642, and John Rillen, a christening witness at St Brides Fleet Street, in 1753.
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