This surname of MILLEN was a locational name 'of de Millen' a place in Holland. The original bearer of the name settled in London in the 16th century, and the earliest record of the name appears to be Alexander de MILLEN (a stranger) who was buried at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1583. William, son of Alexander was buried in the same place in 1584. The name is also spelt MILLEN and MILLAN. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. The name was taken to Ireland by settlers where the name is rendered in Gaelic as O'MAOLAIN and in Scotland it appears as MacMHALOAIN. Gillemor MacMOLAN who appears as a juror on an inquest in 1263 in Lanarkshire, appears to be the first of the name on record there. The lion depicted in the arms is considered to be the noblest of all wild beasts, denoting strength and courage, and on that account is most often borne on coat armour.
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