Villis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Villis reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Villis family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Villis family lived in Berkshire. Their name is derived from the Old English word welle, meaning well, and indicates the original bearer's residence near such a facility.
Early Origins of the Villis family
The surname Villis was first found in Berkshire where they held a family seat at Hungerford Park, a baronetcy granted by King Charles I. They are believed to be descended from Baron Welles, the Duke of Somerset, and the grandmother of Henry VII, a Norman Baron from Welles in Normandy who was granted Rockingham Castle but was beheaded. Not all of the family emigrated to England as Hugh and Robert de Wellis were listed in Normandy in 1198. Effric de Welles held the fief or Wellis, Normandy in 1180. 
Johannes Willeson was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379  and Walter filius Wille held lands in Dumfries in 1214.  Walter Willys was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire in 1327 and Roger Wyllys was found in Kent in 1438. Years later, Richard Willys was listed in the Feet of Fines of Essex in 1517. 
Early History of the Villis family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Villis research. Another 93 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1207, 1279, 1214, 1576, 1656, 1590, 1645, 1642, 1643, 1621, 1675, 1614, 1690, 1664, 1734, 1614, 1701, 1659, 1660, 1665, 1666 and are included under the topic Early Villis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Villis Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Willis, Wilis and others.
Early Notables of the Villis family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Thomas Willis (1576-1656), a member of the English landed gentry and Clerk of the Crown in Chancery at the outbreak of the English Civil War, owing to which he suffered the loss of his position and some of his estates; George Wyllys or Wyllis (1590-1645), born at the manor of Fenny Compton in Warwickshire, an English-born, early American politician who served as the 4th Governor of the Connecticut Colony (1642-1643); Thomas Willis (1621-1675), an English doctor who played an important part...
Another 89 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Villis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Villis family to Ireland
Some of the Villis family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 61 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 Villis family
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Villis name or one of its variants: William Willis settled in Quidividi, Newfoundland, in 1703; Josiah Willis settled in Kiers Cove, Labrador, in 1766; Anne Willis settled in Virginia in 1620.
Related Stories +
- ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ 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)
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)