This interesting surname of English origin is a patronymic from either the Medieval given name Sill, itself being a shortened form of either the Latin given name Silvester, a derivative of "silva" meaning "wood", or from the Latin personal name Silvanus also a derivative of "silva". The surname dates back to the late 14th Century, (see below). London church recordings include one Tomisin Siles who was christened on September 6th 1579, at St. Antholin's Budge Row. Thomas, son of Henry Sills, was christened on December 6th 1590, at St.Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, and Edward Sills married Henry Dowglasie on December 17th 1621, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. Jeffrey, son of Jeffrey Sills, was christened at St. Margaret Patten's on October 6th 1651. One Richard Silles, aged 20, a famine emigrant, sailed from Limerick aboard the Shamrock bound for New York on June 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Sille, which was dated 1397, The Rolls of Burgesses at the Guilds Merchant of the Borough of Preston, during the reign of King Richard 11 of Bordeaux, 1377 - 1399. 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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