The surname of DOLLING is of the locational group of surnames, meaning one who came from Dowland, a parish in County Devon. It also appears, by the early instances of the surname, that there was a place of the name in Yorkshire, although it must now be extinct. The name was derived from the Old English word DUFELANDE, and the earliest record of the name appears to be DUUELTONE (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. DEWELTONE (without surname) was recorded in 1235 in County Devon.
Willelmus de Dowland of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is often assumed that men 'adopted' their surnames. Some certainly did, but the individual himself had no need for a label to distinguish him from his fellows. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each knight owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized. Monasteries drew up surveys and extents with details of tenants of all classes in their services. Any description which identified the man was satisfactory, his father's name, the name of his land, or a nickname known to be his. The upper classes mostly illiterate, were those with whom the officials were chiefly concerned and among them surnames first became numerous and hereditary. Later instances of the name mention Robert Dowland and Jane Smalley, who were married in London in 1626. (No church given). Thomas Feeny and Mary Dowland were wed at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1794. The name was taken to Ireland by early settlers and was Gaelicized to O'Dubhshlain, a personal name composed of the elements dubh (dark) and slan (meaning challenge, defiance). The name is also spelt as Dowland, Dowlind, Douland, Dowlan and Dolan.
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