Gilles History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished Gilles 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 Gilles family

The surname Gilles 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 Gilles family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilles 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 Gilles History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gilles Spelling Variations

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

Early Notables of the Gilles 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 Gilles Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gilles family to Ireland

Some of the Gilles 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.


United States Gilles migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gilles Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Gilles, who arrived in Virginia in 1658 [7]
  • Edward Gilles Jr. settled in Barbados in 1680
Gilles Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Gilles, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [7]
  • Melchior Gilles, who arrived in New York, NY in 1708 [7]
  • Markham Gilles, who landed in Virginia in 1776 [7]
Gilles Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Gilles, who settled in Philadelphia in 1812
  • Catherine Gilles, who arrived in New York, NY in 1836 [7]
  • Eliza Gilles, who arrived in New York, NY in 1836 [7]
  • William Gilles, who landed in New York, NY in 1836 [7]
  • George Gilles, aged 1, who landed in New York, NY in 1847 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Gilles migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gilles Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Michel Gilles, aged 25, who landed in Montreal in 1653
  • Theodore Gilles, who arrived in Montreal in 1653
  • Michel Gilles, who landed in Montreal in 1664
Gilles Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Archibald Gilles U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 [8]

Australia Gilles migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Gilles Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Osmond Gilles, aged 48, a colonial treasurer, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836 [9]
  • Lewis Gilles, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella" in 1837 [10]
  • Mary Gilles, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella" in 1837 [10]
  • Osmond Horne Gilles, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella" in 1837 [10]
  • Alfred William Gilles, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella" in 1837 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Gilles (post 1700) +

  • Ralph Victor Gilles (b. 1970), American-born, Canadian automobile designer and executive, President and CEO of Chrysler's SRT brand and Senior Vice President of Design at Chrysler
  • Todd Gilles (b. 1986), American ice dancer
  • Alexe Gilles (b. 1992), American figure skater, 2008 U.S. Junior Champion and 2008 Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist
  • Robert Gilles, American politician, Representative from New York 3rd District, 1882 [11]
  • Patrick Gilles, American politician, Supervisor of Bridgeport Township, Michigan, 2007-09 [11]
  • Geneviève Gilles (b. 1946), born Geneviève Gillaizeau, a French actress who was the lover of film producer Darryl Zanuck (1965–1973)
  • Jean Gilles (1904-1961), French General
  • Jean Gilles (1668-1705), French composer
  • François Gilles Guillot, French Brigadier General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815 [12]
  • Marcel Gilles Dagenais, Canadian economist in Verdun, Quebec


The Gilles 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. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HMS BUFFALO 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836Buffalo.htm
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ISABELLA 1837. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1837Isabella.gif
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 10) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ Generals Who Served in the French Army during the Period 1789-1815. (Retrieved 2015, March 6) François Guillot. Retrieved from http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/c_frenchgenerals.html


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