Hills History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Hills was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Hills family lived near or on a hill. Hills, which was extremely popular and widely distributed in England, is a classic example of an English polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently. The name was originally derived from the Old English hyll, which simply meant hill or dweller by the hill. [1]

Early Origins of the Hills family

The surname Hills was first found in Worcestershire, where one line is descended from the De Montes of Castlemorton in Worcestershire. The manor of Hillend in Castlemorton, Worcester was likely built on land held by Odo de Monte, or Hill, in 1238-9. Richard Hill of Castlemorton is mentioned in 1383 and John Hill of Castlemorton in 1408-9. John Hill died about 1623 holding a "messuage" at Hillend, which then passed to his son Thomas.

Other early records of the name include Gilbert del Hill, who was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Norfolk in 1191; William "attehil" (literally at the hill,) who was listed in 1260 in the Assize Rolls of Cornwall, and Simon Hille who was listed in the Rotuli Hundredorum for Worcestershire of 1273. [1]

Again in Cornwall, "the rectory of St. Keverne, which had been appropriated to the priory of Beaulieu in Hampshire, was afterward for many years in the family of Hill. About the middle of the last century, the great tithes were sold by this family to the occupiers of the several estates, for a term of 999 years." [2]

Scotland was another ancient homeland for the family. In this case, the first record was William de la Hyll, son of Waldeve son of Aldewyn, who resigned lands in Mydilham in 1271. William o' the Hill rendered homage to King Edward I of England in 1296 and in 1321 William de le Hille was received to the king of England's peace. " It was Richard de Hulle (Hill), 'a varlette of Scotland,' who 'stikked and killed' Catarine Mortimer, 'a damoisel of London,' one of the inmates of the harem of David II in 1360." [3]

Early History of the Hills family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hills research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1484, 1484, 1549, 1601, 1602, 1271, 1597, 1727, 1589, 1657, 1628, 1629, 1605, 1667, 1672, 1699, 1692, 1695, 1694, 1734, 1735, 1685, 1750, 1736, 1749, 1711, 1663, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Hills History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hills 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 Hill, Hille, Hyll, Hills and others.

Early Notables of the Hills family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include John Hill (1589-1657), an English merchant and politician, Member of Parliament for Dorchester (1628-1629); Roger Hill (1605-1667), of Poundsford, Somerset, an English judge and Member of Parliament; Michael Hill (1672-1699), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Saltash (1692-1695), appointed to the Privy Council of Ireland in 1694; James Hill (died 1734), an English master mason in Cheltenham...
Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hills Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Hills family to Ireland

Some of the Hills family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 81 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Hills migration to the United States +

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 Hills or a variant listed above:

Hills Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ismale Hills, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [4]
  • Richard Hills, who arrived in Maryland in 1633 [4]
  • Rose Hills, aged 22, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [4]
  • Elizabeth Hills, who landed in Maryland in 1650 [4]
  • Henry Hills, who arrived in Virginia in 1652 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Hills Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Hills, who landed in New York in 1785 [4]
Hills Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Hills, who arrived in America in 1807 [4]
  • Margaret Hills, aged 29, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1812 [4]

Canada Hills migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Hills Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Daniel Hills, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
Hills Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Hills, who landed in Canada in 1831

Australia Hills migration to Australia +

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

Hills Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Alfred Hills, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [5]
  • Thomas Hills, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • Thomas Hills, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1849 [7]
  • Ann Hills, aged 33, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Tory" in 1850 [8]

New Zealand Hills migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Hills Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward Hills, British settler arriving as Detachment of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Sir George Symour" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 26th November 1847 [9]
  • W. Hills, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • Caroline Hills, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • Mr. EdwardHills, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Duke of Portland" arriving in New Plymouth, North Island, New Zealand in 1855 [10]
  • Mr. Hills, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Merchantman' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand and Auckland New Zealand on 6th September 1855 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Hills Settlers in New Zealand in the 20th Century
  • Ronald Hills, aged 22, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926

Contemporary Notables of the name Hills (post 1700) +

  • Roderick Maltman Hills (1931-2014), American Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission between 1975 and 1977
  • Ben Hills (1942-2018), English-born, Australian freelance journalist and author
  • Joseph John Hills, first class English cricketer and test match umpire
  • John David Hills (b. 1978), English footballer
  • John Hills (1960-2014), British horse trainer, son of Barry Hills
  • Sir Graham Hills (1926-2014), British physical chemist, Principal of the University of Strathclyde and a Governor of the BBC
  • Patrick Darcy 'Pat' Hills (1917-1992), Australian politician
  • Michael Hills (b. 1963), British flat racing jockey
  • Richard Hills (b. 1963), British flat racing jockey
  • Adam Hills (b. 1970), Australian comedian and television presenter
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Miss Phyllis Jean  Hills (1917-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [11]
  • Miss Margaret Maud  Hills (1910-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [11]
  • Miss Jacquelin  Hills (1910-1917), Canadian resident from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [11]
  • Miss Ruth Bell  Hills (1913-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [11]
  • Mr. John D.  Hills (1885-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [11]
  • ... (Another 1 entries are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Hills 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: Avancez
Motto Translation: Advance.


Suggested Readings for the name Hills +

  • 2366 "The Hills-Neet Story; Reminiscences by Jessie Hills Stewart" by Dorothy Chapman.

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/argyle/1831
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1834 with 230 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1834
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) "MADAWASKA" 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Madawaska.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) THE TORY 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Tory.gif
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance


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