This ancient surname, recorded in the spellings of Rylands, Rylance, Roylance, and Roylands, has two possible origins. The first is locational from two places called 'Rylands', in Lancashire, and Cheshire. The village names derive from the Anglo-Saxon pre 8th century "rhy" or "rhee" meaning a water course or stream and "lands" -the lands adjoining the stream. The second possibility is as a form of the ancient pre 6th century Frankish personal name 'Rowland', which according to the late Professor Reaney, was recorded as 'Rowlance', although we have no proven recordings, although 'Rowland' is a popular North Midlands surname. Either way it would seem that the development was from Rylands or Ro(w)land, first recorded in Derbyshire in 1327, to Rylance, Roylands, and then Roylance. As 'Roylance' the name is most popular in the Derbyshire and Staffordshire areas, although found in small numbers in Leicester, Nottingham, and Lincoln. The name as Rylands achived a certain notoriety in 1686 when Thomas Rylands, also recorded as Rylance, an early Puritan and non-conformist, of Warmincham, Chester, was twice sued for tithes by his church of England vicar. Examples of the name recordings taken from early registers include Eliza Roylae who married Tobias Turner at Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, on October 30th 1637, and Joshua Roylance, who married Rosamund Harrison at Tideswell, Derbyshire, on June 15th 1685. Georgiana Roylance was christened at Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, on April 14th 1828. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert del Ruylondes, which was dated 1327, in the history of "The Rylands within West Houghton, County Lancashire", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy" 1327 - 1377. 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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