- This interesting name is of French origin and may be either locational from a place in Normandy called Buttevilein, or a compound nickname for one who habitually said "strike the peasant!". The derivation in the first instance is from the old French "butte" meaning a mound or hillock, plus "Vilein", a peasant or serf personally bound to his lord; hence, "hill of the serfs". One, Robert de Buttevillane and a William de Buteveln were recorded in "The Fine Court Rolls of Norfolk", in 1139 and 1321 respectively. The derivation in the second instance is from the Anglo-Norman French "but(t)er", to strike, plus "vilain", a peasant or bondsman. Early recordings include Robertus Butevillanus "Documents relating to the Danelaw", Nottinghamshire, (1147), and Ernis Buteuilein - "The Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", (1205). The modern variant "Butlin" is particularly well recorded in 17th Century London church registers. On January 1st 1637 Richard Butlin and Jane Chambers were married in St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robertus Butevilain, which was dated 1130, "The Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 1, "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.
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