This interesting surname is of medieval Scottish origin, and is a locational name from Skirling, a village near the west border of Peeblesshire, Scotland. The placename was recorded as "Scravelyn" in 1275 and as "Scravillyn" in 1299, and is composed of the Gaelic elements "scaur" a sharp-pointed rock, with "linn" a pool; hence, "sharp-pointed rock by the pool". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century (see below). William Skyrlyn was witness in Glasgow (1520), and another William Skirling witnessed a charter in 1523. Regional and dialectal differences have produced many variations in the spelling of the name, ranging from Scarling, Scarlan and Scarlon to Skirling and Skirlin. On December 26th 1627, John, son of John Skirlin, was christened at the church at Wickham, Durham, and on October 14th 1716, John, son of William and Ann Scarlin, was christened at the church of St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Scrawelyn, abbot of Culross, which was dated 1335, in the "Miscellany of the Spalding Club, Aberdeen", during the reign of King David 11 of Scotland, 1329 - 1371. 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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