This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and has a number of possible sources. Firstly, it may be a patronymic form of Bill, itself a short form of any of the various Germanic personal name such as Billard and Billaud, or of the Olde English pre 7th Century byname "Bill(a)", from "bill" sword, halberd. The first mentioned name is composed of the Germanic elements "bil", sword, with "hard", brave, hardy, and the second has as its component elements "bil" (as above) with "wald", rule. Billings may also be of locational origin either from Billing in Northamptonshire, recorded as "Bel(l)inge" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Billinges" in the 1223 Pipe Rolls of that county, or from Billinge in Lancashire appearing as "Billing" in the Pipe Rolls of Lancashire, dated 1202. Both places are named from the Olde English pre 7th Century patronymic "Billingas", from "Bill(a)", with "ingas" meaning "the sons, or dependants, of"; hence, "(the settlement) of Billa's people". One, John Billings was entered in the "Register of Oxford University", in 1581. A Coat of Arms granted to the Billings family of Bedfordshire is red, a cross between four silver crosses crosslet fitchee. An arm embowed vested holding a covered cup is on the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osebertus Billing, which was dated 1188, in the "Calendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk, 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.