- This interesting surname derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Englisc" meaning "English" and was originally given as a distinguishing name to an Angle as distinct from a Saxon. Both the Angles and Saxons were West German people who invaded England in the 5th and 6th Centuries A.D.. The Scottish form "Inglis" denotes an Englishman as opposed to a Scottish borderer whilst the form "English" referred to an Englishman living in Strathclyde. In the Welsh border counties the name would be given to an Englishman in a preponderatingly Welsh community. It may have been commonly used in the early Middle-Ages as a distinguishing epithet for an Anglo-Saxon in an area where the cultures were not predominantly English, for example in the Danelaw area, Scotland and parts of Wales, or as a distinguishing name after 1066 for a non-Norman in the regions of most intensive Norman settlement. However, at the present day the surname is fairly evenly distributed throughout the country. In the modern idiom, the name is found as Inglish, Inglis and English. On July 3rd 1560, Friswide English married Thomas Sheppard, at St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, London, and William, son of Alexander English, was christened on September 7th 1567, at the same place. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gillebertus Anglicus which was dated 1171, in the "Pipe Rolls of Herefordshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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.