The surname of MILLS was a locational name 'the dweller at the mill' from residence nearby. Local names usually denoted where a man held land. This English surname was taken to Ulster by settlers, where it is now numerous. The Gaelic is An Mhuilinn (of the mill). The name was a popular font name during the early 12th century. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Early records of the name mention Margary Mylys, County Cambridge, 1273. John Myls was documented in 1336 County Yorkshire. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
The mill, whether powered by water, wind or (occasionally) animals, was an important centre in every medieval settlement; it was normally operated by an agent of the local landowner, and individual peasants were compelled to come to him to have their corn ground into flour, a proportion of the ground corn being kept by the miller by way of payment.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes Armory
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