The surname of ELICE dates in England from the 7th century. The name was originally spelt Helias, from the Hebrew Elijah. Early records of the name mention Helias (without surname) documented in the year 1150 in London. Henry filius Elis, County Cambridge, ibid. Edward Ellis was recorded in County Oxford in the year 1200. Willelmus Helis was documented in 1212 in the County of Somerset. Robert Ellison (smyth) was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Ellis 1379, ibid. Ellis Pigot of Didsbury, Manchester, was listed in the Wills at Chester in the year 1597. Ellis Pollard and Johanna Chapman were married in London in the year 1458. Most of the European surnames 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 name was taken early to Scotland by settlers and John Heles, burgess of Dundee in 1482, appears to be the first on record. John Elleis appears in Aberdeen in the year 1522. Richard Eleis rendered to the Exchequer the accounts of the baillies of the burgh of Jedburgh in 1563. Andrew Elleis was a notary public recorded in Kirkwall in the year 1634.
Magister John Eleis of Eleistoune was heir of the lands of the lordship of Kilpoint in 1686. The name was originally from the medieval given name Elis meaning 'Jehovah is God' and was originally borne by a biblical prophet, but its popularity among Christians in the Middle Ages, was a result of its adoption by various early saints, as for example a 7th century bishop of Syracuse and a 9th century Spanish Martyr. In Wales this surname seems to have absorbed forms derived from the Welsh personal name Elisedd, meaning one who was kindly and benevolent.
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