Vilein History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Vilein family

The surname Vilein was first found in the Domesday Book where Hugo de Villana, in 1086, held land at Taunton in Somerset of the Bishop of Winchester. Richard Villanus was of Gloucestershire 1189-90 (Pipe Rolls). In the following century the name occurs in several other counties. William, John, and Hugh le Vileyn, in Shropshire, Richard le Vileyn, in Oxfordshire, and Robert Vilein, in Yorkshire, all appear in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1272. Was the latter the Robert, son of Ralph Villayn de Binglay, who gave lands at Helwick to Rievaulx Abbey, and was likewise a benefactor of Drax Priory, where he lies buried? Simon his son confirmed his grants." [1]

In Lincolnshire, Sir William Vileyn, jointly with Swene le Rich, founded a Preceptory for Templars at Mere in the time of Henry H. He gave them three carucates of land at Mere, "six miles south of Lincoln, on what was formerly the commencement of a region of open country called Lincoln Heath. In the time of Henry III., Mere was held by William Albini of Beauvoir. Of this family were probably William and John villan, mentioned in Suffolk in 1199 in the Curia Regis Rolls. A Richard Vilain witnesses a grant to Belvoir Priory in 1223. [1]

Early History of the Vilein family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Vilein research. Another 83 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1196, 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Vilein History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Vilein Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Vilein has been spelled many different ways, including Villain, Vilain, Villane, Viland, Villein, Villin and many more.

Early Notables of the Vilein family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Vilein Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Vilein family

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Vileins to arrive in North America: Jean Vilain who went to Virginia in the year 1700; or the unknown Villain recruited for service in the French colony of Louisiana in 1756. In 1843; Hubert Villain went to New York, and Emilie Vilain went to San Francisco during the gold rush there in 1851..



  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3


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