Hill Surname Genealogy

Hill is mainly a locational surname, from the Old English hyll
and describing one who lives by the hill. An alternative
the medieval personal name Hille (short for Hilary or
Hildebrand), has
also been suggested. This may be true in
a few cases. The patronymic Hills
surname (son of) also exists.

Hill Resources on

England. Hill has been a west country name, in a line
from the southwest running north to Lancashire. The name is less
to be
found in areas where there are few hills (such as East Anglia) or where
are called by different names (such as the downs in Sussex and Kent).

The first
record of Hill as a surname was a Simon Hille in Worcestershire in
These Hills claimed a Norman origin back to 1100 and became an
medieval family. Droitwich records in Worcestershire showed a
William atte Hille
in 1379. Early
were also in Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Another old Hill family, dating from the early 1300’s, came from
Kilminton near Axminster in Devon. Sir Robert Hill of
Justice of the Common Pleas in 1409. He
was in possession of Shilston Manor by that time, which his descendants
until 1614. The family was described as
follows in a 1540 document:

“Hill, a gentleman, lives in Modbury parish – this
name by a lawyer and judge that left unto his heirs 300 marks of land.”

this family are thought to have come:

  • Thomas Hill, a grocer who was Lord Mayor
    of London in 1484
  • Sir Moses Hill, who ventured to Ireland in the 1590’s
  • and
    Richard Hill, a London merchant in the 1640’s.

The Hill (originally Hull) family
at Burford in Shropshire may date from the 14th century.
Rowland Hill found fame and fortune in London in the early 16th
and became the first Protestant Lord Mayor of London in 1549.
From him
came the Hill family of Hawkestone House and Park in Shropshire.

Waldron and
Thomas Hill were successful glassmakers in Stourbridge,
During the 1780’s Waldron’s son Thomas was instrumental in setting up a
ironworks at Blaenavon in south Wales, at the time the largest
plant in the world. Around the same time John Hill moved to
he established the world-renowned Waterford glassworks.

The surname Hill was brought to Ireland by Sir Moses
who served under the Earl of Essex in suppressing Irish revolts in the
The town of Hillsborough in county Down was named after his family who
a strong presence in the area.

America. William Hill from Devon
arrived in Boston
harbor on the William & Francis
in 1632; while William Hills from Essex came in the same year on the Lion.
Both later settled in Connecticut, William Hill in Fairfield and
Hills one of the founders of Hartford.

There were early Hills from Somerset at
Jamestown in Virginia. Edward and
William Hill arrived there in 1621 and survived the Indian massacre two
later. Edward Hill was living at
Basse’s Choice at that time. The fourth Edward Hill built his home Shirley on the
northern shore of the James river above Williamsburg.

It still stands today.

Hill family from the west country was Catholic and sought refuge in
Baltimore’s Maryland. Clement Hill
settled there in
St. Mary’s county, Maryland
in 1662.
line of this family under Isaac Hill moved to
northern Georgia and the town of Hilsboro, named after him. From his brother John came Senator Benjamin
Harvey Hill, a silver-tongued orator who was one of the leaders of the
Confederacy during the Civil War.

Irish Hills produced some American Hill

  • Nathaniel Hill came from
    Ulster around 1725 and settled in New York state. His
    house in Orange county, the Brick House, remained with
    the family until 1975 and is now a
    museum. A great grandson, also named
    migrated to Colorado in 1865 and became its Senator in 1879.
  • Abram Hill from Derry also came to New York,
    around 1764. From his line came David
    Hill, Governor of New York in 1885.

Australia. William Hill
was transported to Australia as a convict in 1797 on a life
sentence. He was, however, the first of what became a very
prominent Victorian family in NSW. One son George, who started
out like his father as a butcher, later entered politics and became a
horseracing patron. Another son Richard also began as a butcher
and later succeeded as a farmer and horticulturist.

Hill Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Hill Names

Sir Rowland Hill was the
first Protestant Lord Mayor of London.
Fanny Hill was the first
novel, written by John Cleland in 1748.
Rowland Hill was the Victorian
postal reformer who pioneered the postage stamp.
James Hill was a 19th
century American railroad tycoon, known as the “Empire Builder.”
William Hill founded William Hill, one of the UK’s largest firms of
bookmakers, in 1934.

Benny Hill was a popular
British TV comic.
Faith Hill is an
American country singer.

Select Hills Today

  • 146,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Hampshire)
  • 156,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 89,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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