Recorded as Scill, Skell, Skill, Skile, and the diminutives and patronymics, Skillen, Skellen, Skillin, Skillings and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is however of Norse-Viking pre 7th century origins. In ancient times the name was baptismal and a developed form of 'scela' meaning summer. As such it was probably given to somebody born on Mid Summers Day or at least a feast or holiday, which commemorated summer. The surname is quite well recorded in the surviving early registers of the city of London and examples include Edward Skill, the son of William Skill, christened at St Mary Whitechapel, on August 27th 1597, and at the same church Hugh Scill, whose daughter Bridget was christened on July 2nd 1612, whilst Jane Skillen married William Harrison at the famous church of St Mary-Le-Bone, on April 4th 1683. Far away in Ireland Janet Skillen married William Geddes at Santfield, County Down, Ireland, on April 12th 1742. A coat of arms associated with the family has the blazon of a white shield charged with two chevrons in red, on a red chief three bezants. The crest being a greyhound courant in gold, collared and lined black. The motto: Marte et arte translating as: By valour and skill. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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