Villein History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Villein family

The surname Villein 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 Villein family

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

Villein Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Villein were recorded, including Villain, Vilain, Villane, Viland, Villein, Villin and many more.

Early Notables of the Villein family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Villein family

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Villein family emigrate to 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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