Recorded as Skilling, Skillin, Skillen, Skeland, Skelland, Skellen, Skellin and the very rare Skillanders, this unusual surname much associated with the English county of Lancashire is of pre 7th century Norse-Viking. It is also popular in most spellings in Northern Ireland and specifically County Down. Its origins are confused but it may be locational from a place such as Skillion in the Isle of Man, or Skillington in Yorkshire, the place of the Scela people. Scela has the literal meaning of summer, and may have been given as a baptismal name somebody born on Mid Summers Day.It is unclear as to when the surname was first recorded, but it is certainly medieva. Early examples of the surname recording include Ales Skillington of Childwall in Lancashire, on Jul8th 1583, John Skillinge at Rochdale, Lancashire, on October 5th 1617, Jane Skillen who married William Harrison at the famous church of St Mary-Le-Bone, London on April 4th 1683, Janet Skillen who married William Geddes at Santfield, County Down, Ireland, on April 12th 1742. A coat of arms associated with the name has the blazon of a silver shield charged with two chevrons in red, and on a red chief three bezants in gold. 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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