Recorded in the spellings of Yeoland and Yelland, this is a surname of English and specifically Lancastrian origins. It derives from a two places originally called Yealand Conyers and Yealand Redmayne in the parish of Warton, which translate as 'the land by the ea', the latter word being Ancient British (pre Roman) and means the stream. The additive Conyers and Redmayne refer to the two families who were the lords of the manor in medieval times. Topographical surnames form the largest single segment of surname types, since it was from natural forms in the landscape (hills, brooks, oaks etc) that the original languages and the original surnames, took their form. In this case we have a medieval fusion of 'ea' and 'land', with a 'Y' prefix to aid pronunciation. In certain parts of the country particularly the South West 'yeo' is the normal spelling to indicate a river. Examples of early surname recordings include Adam de Yelland, the warden of the Honor of Lancaster, (see below), and John de Yaldelonde in the Hundred rolls of Devon in 1273. William de Yelaund of Northumberland is also recorded in the same year, whilst Wilemus de Yeland appears in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls for the sub county of Howden. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Yeland, which was dated 1229, in the pipe rolls of the county of Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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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