This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from a nickname from the coin, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "scilling", shilling. The surname may have referred originally to a rent or fee owed, or may have some other anecdotal origin, now irrecoverable. A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, habits of dress, and occupation, or, as in this case, because a certain sum of money was owed in rent. In Germany a similar surname is found, derived from the Middle High German "schilling", itself from the Old High German "scilling", schilling, a derivative of "scilt", a shield. The surname in Germany is usually found as Schilling. An interesting namebearer was Andrew Shilling (deceased 1621), who was commander in the East India Company and one of the chief masters of the navy, 1603; he took part in a expedition to India in 1617, and conveyed home the brilliant diplomat and ambassador Sir Thomas Roe. Subsequently, Shilling was mortally wounded in the victory of his squadron over the Portuguese on the Persian coast. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Eschelling, which was dated 1176, in the "Pipe Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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