Heligan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The illustrious surname Heligan is classified as a habitation surname, which was originally derived from a place-name, and is one form of surname belonging to a broader group called hereditary surnames. Habitation names were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Topographic names, form the other broad category of surnames that was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree.
Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. Heligan is a place-name from in Devon. Hillion, near Saint-Brieux, was the birthplace of Herve d'Helion, a companion of William the Conqueror who was awarded a barony and lands in Devon. The name could also have been a baptismal name derived from the son of Heilin.
Early Origins of the Heligan family
The surname Heligan was first found in Brittany, where Hillion, near Saint-Brieux, was the birthplace of Herve d'Helion, a companion of William the Conqueror who was awarded a barony and lands in Devon. It is there that the family established its family seat at Ashton and Credy-Helion.
Some of the family were found in the parish of St. Ewe, Cornwall. "The manor of Heligan, was at an early period the property of the Heligans, from whom it passed by female heirs to the Tregarthians, and Whitleghs, and from the latter by co-heiresses to the families of Grenville and Hals." 
Shropshire, on the border of Wales, was of particular significance to the family. For it was here that in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, Philip filius Heilin, Robert filius Heilin and B'ucha uxor Heilini were recorded as holding lands at that time. 
Early History of the Heligan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Heligan research. Another 184 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1190, 1273, 1562, 1631, 1562, 1631, 1600, 1662, 1600, 1685, 1759, 1736, 1705, 1708, 1711, 1728, 1861 and 1865 are included under the topic Early Heligan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Heligan Spelling Variations
Since the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules, Breton surnames have many spelling variations. Latin and French, which were the official court languages, were also influential on the spelling of surnames. The spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. Therefore, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England after the Norman Conquest, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. The name has been spelled Heylin, Heylen, Haylin, Hayling, Heylins, Heylens and many more.
Early Notables of the Heligan family (pre 1700)
Notable of this family during the Middle Ages was Rowland Heyyn or Heylin (1562?-1631), Sheriff of London, "descended from an ancient family seated at Pentreheylin in the parish of Llandysilio, Mongomeryshire, whose members were hereditary cupbearers (as the name signifies) to the princes of Powys. " 
Peter Heylin (1600-1662) of Burford, Oxfordshire, a theologian and historian whose controversial writings made him famous. He was born at Burford, Oxfordshire, in 1600, and was second son of Henry Heylyn by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Clampard of Wrentham, Kent...
Another 88 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Heligan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Heligan family to Ireland
Some of the Heligan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 54 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 Heligan family
Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Heligan, or a variant listed above: Hester Heylens, who sailed to Virginia in 1649; Mary Haylin, who came to Maryland 1720; Barbara Heylin, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732; H. Nicholas Helling, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1750.
- Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
- Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print