Recorded as Sill, Sille, the diminutives Sillet, Sillett, Sillitt, Sylett, Syliot, the patronymics Sills and Sillson, and the job descriptive Siller and Syler, this is an English surname. According to the late Professor Reaney, widely regarded as the foremost authority on English surnames it is a short or nickname form of the popular French personal and surname name Silvester. This may be so, but we have not been able to establish any clear link between the two. As an alternative we believe that it originates from the Latin word "silva," which actually means silver, and hence could have been an occupational name for a silversmith or jeweller. From the earliest known recordings it is simply not possible to given an origin with certainty, as surnames from either nicknames or occupations were paramount at the time some seven centuries ago. However the first known recording is believed to be that of Robert Sille in the Guild roll for the town of Preston in Lancashire in the year 1397. This recording is a clear suggestion that the nameholder was a skilled man, although it does not absolutely prove that he was a silver smith. Later recordings taken at random include Elisabeth Sillett at St Botolphs Bishopgate in the city of London on March 29th 1642, and James Siller at St Andrews Holborn, on June 18th 1664.
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