This most interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Shillington in Bedfordshire; or Chillington in Devon, Somerset and Staffordshire. The former place appeared in the "Diplomatarium anglicum" in 1060 as "Scytlingedune", and as "Sethlindone" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The first element of the Bedfordshire placename seems to be the tribal name "Scytlingas", meaning people of Scytla, Scyttel, a byname from the Olde English pre 7th Century "sciell", resounding; and the Olde English "tun", village, settlement. The latter placenames in Devon, Somerset and Staffordshire derive from the Olde English "Cillaing, Ceolaing", people of Cilla, Ceola, and "tun", as above. 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. Early examples include the christening of Jana Shellington at All Saints, Derby, on May 1st 1565, and Anthonie Shillington married Dorothie Mawson on October 10th 1601, at Morton by Bourne, in Lincolnshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Shellinton, which was dated January 27th 1563, marriage to Alicia Hyswell, at All Saint's, Derby, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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