Gilinghan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Gilinghan was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Gilinghan family lived the Old French given name Guillaume. The name Guillaume was modified into two forms after arriving in England: Gillham; from which Gillingham derives; and William. Alternatively, the name could have been a local name as "of Gillingham." In this case, there are three parishes so named in England: a parish in Norfolk, near Beccles; a parish in Dorset, near Shaftesbury; a parish in Kent, near Chatham. [1]

Early Origins of the Gilinghan family

The surname Gilinghan was first found in Dorset, Norfolk, and in Kent. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Gild de Gillingham in Dorset and Robert de Gyllingham in Norfolk. During the reign of Edward I., Hugh de Gillingham was found in Kent and Robert de Gillingham was found in Norfolk. Richard de Gillyngham, was listed in Somerset, during the reign of Edward III. [1]

Another source claims the Dorset local was the original. "The Gillinghams evidently derive their name from the Dorset town thus called." [2]

We will take a moment to discuss the ancient history of Gillingham, Kent. "This ancient village, which is recorded in Domesday Book by the name of Gelingeham, was much exposed to the ravages of the Danes; and it is said that 600 noblemen, who landed here in the retinue of Alfred and Edward, were murdered upon the spot, by Earl Godwin. Charles I. erected a fort for the protection of the royal dockyard and navy, which, proving ineffectual to resist the Dutch in their celebrated expedition up the river, in 1667, was subsequently enlarged, and distinguished by the name of Gillingham Castle. The church was formerly remarkable for what was deemed a miraculous image of the Virgin, called 'Our Lady of Gillingham,' in a niche over the western door, to which frequent pilgrimages were made." [3] The Dillingham variant originates in Dullingham (the village of Dulla's people), in Cambridgeshire. [4] [5] Today the Gillingham variant is fairly rare while the Dillingham is preferred.

Early History of the Gilinghan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilinghan research. Another 67 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1735, 1611, 1625, 1611, 1613, 1678, 1617, 1689 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Gilinghan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gilinghan Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Gillingham, Gillam, Gwilliams, Gilham, Dillingham and many more.

Early Notables of the Gilinghan family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Francis Dillingham (fl. 1611), was an English divine, a native of Dean, Bedfordshire (1625). He was one of the translators of the authorised version of the Bible (1611). [6] Theophilus Dillingham (1613-1678), was an English churchman and academic, Master of Clare Hall, Cambridge...
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gilinghan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Gilinghan family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Gilinghan or a variant listed above: John Gilham who settled in Barbados in 1680; Susan Gilham settled in Jamaica in 1661; Joseph Gilham settled in Virginia in 1738; Benjamin Gillam settled in Boston in 1630.



  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  5. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  6. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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