01 January 2005 - 12:23

Origin of the name Milner

Milner is a cognate form of the English surname Miller, the occupational name for the man who operated the mill, one of the primary early occupations. Millar is found in Scotland as a variation and Milner is the predominate form in Yorkshire. Meller and Muller are other English variations.

History of the Milner surname

The Anglo-Saxons first arrived in England about the year 380 A.D. Ancient manuscripts and other ancient documents list the first record of the name Milner, in Yorkshire where they were seated from early times and the first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain.

Many different spelling versions are found in many manuscripts, and from time to time the surname included the spellings of Milner, Milnor, and these variations in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. Frequently a person was born with one spelling, married with another and died with another. Scribes and church officials spelled the name as it was told to them.

The family name Milner is believed to be descended originally from the ancient Saxon race, a fair skinned people led by Hengist and Horsa, who settled in England from about the year 400 A.D. They came from northern Germany, as far south and west as the Rhine Valley, and settled firstly in Kent on the south east coast. Gradually, they moved northward and westward from Kent and during the next four hundred years forced the ancient Britons back into Wales and Cornwall to the west, and won territories as far north as Lancashire and Yorkshire pushing the Britons into Cumbria and Southern Scotland.

The family name Milner emerged as a notable English family name in the county of Yorkshire where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in that shire. They were first recorded in Yorkshire at Pudsey where they were Lords of the manor and lands. By the 14th century, they had branched to Nun-Appleton Hall in the same county and also had established branches in Cornwall and a town mansion in London. In London their estates were at Williston Green. John and Richard Milner were both eminent lawyers in Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn. Notable amongst the family at this time was - Milner of Yorkshire.

In the midst of the turmoil in England and Ireland suring the 16th to 18th centuries, members of the family name Milner sailed aboard the armada of small sailing ships known as the 'White Sails' which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30% to 40% of the passenger list never reaching their destination, their numbers decimated by dysentery, cholera, small pox, typhoid and the elements.

In North America, included amongst the first migrants which could be considered a kinsman of the surname Milner, or a variable spelling of that family name was Joseph, Daniel, Anne, Sarah, and Ralph Milner all arrived in Philadelphia in 1683; Michael Milner arrived in New England in 1635; Samuel Milner settled in Virginia in 1635; Robert Milner settled in Virginia in 1623. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagon trains to the prairies or to the west coast. During the American War of Independence, many loyalists made their way north to Canada about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists. They were granted equivalent lands along the banks of the St. Lawrence River and in the Niagara Peninsula. Contemporary notables of this surname include Baron Milner of Leeds.

Milner Armorials

early Milner coat of arms

Many coats of arms have been granted to different branches of the family name. The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found is ... Ermine, with three wolves heads. The Crest is ... A wolf's head. The ancient family motto is "Addit Frena Feris".

Note: The armorial bearings on the right are some of those of the family surnames in the author's ancestry. Only the top one is for a Milner. Though not illustrated, the blazon for another grant of arms to Milner is ... Per pale, or and sable, a chevron between three horses bits all counterchanged. The crest is ... A horses head proper bridled or between two wings of the second on a wreath of the colours.

Ancestral Arms

Milner Coat of Arms Lano Coat of Arms Olson Coat of Arms Erickson Coat of Arms Stephens Coat of Arms Campbell Coat of Arms MacKinnon Coat of Arms Tobin Coat of Arms MacLean Coat of Arms Crier Coat of Arms


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