Show ContentsGillean History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished Gillean family, which is intricately woven into the intricate tapestry of Scottish history, probably finds its origin with the proud Norman people.

However, Gille or Gillebert (fl. 1105-1145), Bishop of Limerick, "termed by Keating Giolla Easbog, was consecrated in Ireland, but it is uncertain whether he was an Irishman or a Dane, Limerick being then a Danish city. " [1]

How this very early entry fits into the history of the family is uncertain, but we include in as a point of reference.

Early Origins of the Gillean family

The surname Gillean was first found in Yorkshire, where the Domesday Book of 1086 listed Ghille, Ghile, Ghil. [2] Gamel filius Gille was a Knights Templar in Yorkshire in 1185. Johannes films Gille was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Yorkshire in 1297. [3]

Some of the family were also found in Lincolnshire where Henricus filius Gllli, Gille was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1200. Two years later, Ralph, Robert Gille was listed in the Assize Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1202.

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed: Richard filius Gille, Cambridgeshire; Gille Hulle, Cambridgeshire; and Roger Gille, Oxfordshire. [4]

Henry Gille moved the family name to Cumberland in 1200 and the family gave its name to the village of Gilsland, a watering-place, in the parish of Lanercost-Abbey, Eskdale ward, E. division of Cumberland. [5]

And it is this branch of the family that we will now focus. "A tradition held by members of the Aberdeen [Scotland] family of this name is that they came originally from Cumberland, where at an early period they owned lands, among others the barony of Gillsland. Gilsland, one of three original baronies in Cumberland, is spelled Gillesland in 1240, and may have been the possession of one Gilli or Gille. Gilli is an old West Scandinavian personal name, borrowed at an earlier period directly from OG. gilla, 'a servant,' or from a pet form of one of the numerous Gaelic names in Gilla-, as Gillebride, Gillechrist, etc. The abbreviated form was not used by Gaels as a proper name, but such usage originated among the Vikings in the West. The surname is of great antiquity on both sides of the Border. Gille filius Boed was one of the witnesses to Earl David's Inquisitio concerning the lands of the church of Glasgow, a. 1124. This Gille son of Boed or Boet stands on a pedestal unique, perhaps in Scottish history, as the last Scottish chieftain to hold sway in England against the power of the Norman." [6]

Indeed the lion's share of the family claim Scotland as their homeland.

Early History of the Gillean family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gillean research. Another 202 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1241, 1296, 1328, 1330, 1333, 1366, 1369, 1389, 1460, 1658, 1659, 1690, 1565, 1635, 1564, 1583, 1586, 1589, 1597, 1642, 1597, 1697, 1771 and are included under the topic Early Gillean History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gillean Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Gill, Gille, Gills, Gilles, Gyll, Gylls and others.

Early Notables of the Gillean family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Alexander Gill the Elder (1565-1635), High-Master of St. Paul's School, born in Lincolnshire 7 Feb. 1564, was admitted scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in September 1583, and proceeded B.A. 1586...
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gillean Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gillean family to Ireland

Some of the Gillean family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Gillean family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Arthur Gill, a shipwright, who landed in Dorchester in 1639; Alexander Gill settled in Virginia in 1624; Arthur Gill settled in Maine in 1630; Henry Gill settled in South Carolina in 1716.

Contemporary Notables of the name Gillean (post 1700) +

  • Mrs. Gillean Irralee McNab B.E.M., British recipient of Medallist of the British Empire Medal 29th December 2018 for services to The Vale of Atholl Pipe Band and to the community in Perthshire [7]
  • Gillean Robert Maclaine of Lochbuie (1921-1970), Scottish 25th hereditary Chief of Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie and Feudal Baron of Moy

The Gillean Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: In te Domine spes nostra
Motto Translation: Our hope is in thee, O Lord

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  7. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, on Facebook