This interesting surname derives from the old French "ceur de lion" meaning "lion heart" and would have originated as a nickname for a brave man, or ironically for an exceptionally timorous one. The surname is first recorded in the mid 16th Century (see below). Adam Girdelyon is noted in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire (12976), William Gerlyn is recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex (1296), and Robert Gerling is registered in the Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire (1327). Girdelion would become Girdling and then Girling. In the modern idiom, the surname has many spelling variations depending on where it is found e.g., Codling is common in Yorkshire, Quodling and Quadling are Norfolk and Suffolk names, whilst Girling and Gurling, particularly common in Suffolk are frequent also in Essex and Norfolk. On January 15th 1544, Anthony Girling married Elizabeth Sekford, in Great Bealings, Suffolk and Alice, daughter of Christopher Girling was christened on April 13th 1571 at Ellough, Suffolk. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Querdeleon, witness, which was dated 1247, in the "Assize Court Rolls of Bedfordshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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