This surname of SKILLEN was derived from the Old Norman SKILAMAOR, a name meaning the trustworthy and honest man. The name is fairly numerous in County Down, and rendered in Gaelic as SCEALLAIN. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. The names introduced into Britain by the Normans during the Invasion were of three kinds. There were names of Norse origin which their ancestors had carried into Normandy; names of Germanic origin which the Frankish conquerors had brought across the Rhine and which had ousted the old Celtic and Latin names from France, and Biblical names and names of Latin and Greek saints. These names they retained even after the customs and language of the natives of Northern France had been adopted by them. After the Norman Conquest not only Normans, but Frenchmen and Bretons from other parts of France settled in England, and quite a few found their way north into Scotland. Early records of the name mention SKILAMANN who appears in the year 1095, and seems to be the first of the name on record. John SKYLEMAN was recorded in the year 1275 in County Norfolk, and Matthew SKILLEN is documented in 1327 in County Surrey. Prior to the Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066, no one had surnames, only christian or nicknames in England. Based on this, and our physical attributes, we were given surnames incorporating tax codes to show trades, areas in which we lived, as today we have street names and numbers. Surnames were used in France and like speaking countries from about the year 1000, and a few places had second names even earlier. Even early monarchs had additions to show attributes and character, for example Ethelred (red-hair) the Unready (never prepared). Edward I was named 'Long shanks' because of his long legs, and Richard III was called 'Crouchback' owing to his deformed shoulder. A later instance of the name mentions William Smith and Mary SKILLMON who were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1802.
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