The distinguished surname DARLING is one of the most notable Anglo/Saxon surnames, and its historical trait has emerged from the mists of time to become an influential surname of the middle ages and of the present day.


In an in-depth research of such ancient manuscripts as the Domesday Book compiled in 1086 AD by Duke William of Normandy, the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296) collected by King Edward 1st of England, the Curia Regis Rolls, The Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismal, tax records and other ancient documents, researcher found the first record the name DARLING in Derbyshire where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hasting in1066 AD.


Confusing to most, we found many different spellings in the achieves researches. Although your name, DARLING, occurred in many manuscripts, from time to time, the surname was also spelt DARLIN, DERLING, DARLINE, DERLINE, DERLIN, DRYLING, DYRLING and these changes in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. There is one record, a father and eight sons. In the graveyard where they are buried, all nine have different spellings of their surnames. Many reasons were revealed for these spelling variations but mainly church officials and scribes spelt the name as it was told to them.


The family name DARLING is one of the most notable of the Ancient Anglo/Saxon race. This founding race of England, a fair skinned people led by the Sax General/Commanders Hengist and Horsa, settled in Kent from about the year 400 AD. The Angles, on the other hand, occupied the eastern coast.


The Anglo-Saxon five-century domination of English society was an uncertain time, and the nation divided into five separate kingdoms, a high king being elected as supreme ruler.


By 1066 King Harold came to the throne of England which was enjoying reasonable peace and prosperity. However, the Norman invasion from France and their victory at the Battle of Hastings, found many of the vanquished Saxon land owners forfeiting their land to Duke William and his invading nobles. They became oppressed under Norman rule, and some moved northward to the Midlands, LANCASHIRE, YORKSHIRE and even into SCOTLAND.


The family name DARLING emerged as a notable English family name in the county of DERBYSHIRE where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated at DARLING with manor and estates in that shire. This ancient family was recorded in the Saxon Chronicle when AELFMAR DYRLING, a Saxon noble, was mentioned with deeds of valor sometime about the year 850 AD. The family gravitated town LONDON about the 13th and 14th century and became prominent businessmen. They also branched north to SCOTLAND and settled in ROXBURGHSHIRE and were also businessmen of ABERDEEN and EDINBURGH. In SCOTLAND they were well known ecclesiastics from about the 15th century when Sir JOHN DYRLING was Precentor of Caithness. Several others of the family were notable clergy. Meanwhile in England General SIR RALPH DARLING was knighted for his military exploits.


For the next two or three centuries bearers of the surname DARLING flourished and played a significant role in the political development of England. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries England was ravaged by religious and political conflict. Puritanism, Catholicism, Royalist and parliamentary forces shed much blood. Many families were freely “encouraged” to migrated to IRELAND, or to the “colonies”. Some were rewarded with grants of land, others were banished.


In IRELAND settlers became known as the Adventurers seeking land in IRELAND. Called “undertakers” they undertook to maintain the Protestant faith. In IRELAND they settled in DUBLIN and also became numerous in the BELFAST area later in the 17th century.


Meanwhile, the New World beckoned and migration continued, some voluntarily from IRELAND, but mostly directly from ENGLAND or SCOTLAND, their home territories. Some clans and families even moved to the European continent.


Kinsmen of the family name DARLING were among the many who sailed aboard the armada of small sailing ships known as the “White Sails” which plied the storm Atlantic. These overcrowded ships were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30 to 40% of the passenger list never reaching their destination, their numbers reduced by sickness or the elements.


Principal amongst the settlers which could be considered a kinsman of the surname DARLING on a variable spelling of that family name was FRANCIS DARLING who settled in Virginia in 1654. GEORGE DARLING settled in Boston in 1651; another GEORGE DARLING settled in Virginia in 1774; RICHARD DARLING settled in Virginia in 1651 with his wife Ruth.


The trek from the port of entry was also arduous and many joined the wagon trains to the prairies or to the west coat. During the American War of Independence, many loyalists made their way north to Canada about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.


20th Century notables of the surname DARLING, include many distinguished persons. BARON DARLING of HILSBROUGH; PROFESSOR ARTHUR DARLING; GENERAL DOUGLAS DARLING; GERALD DARLING, educator; HENRY DARLING, educator; SIR JAMES DARLING; SIR KENNETH DARLING Commander in Chief.