Colyer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The founding heritage of the Colyer family is in the Anglo-Saxon culture that once dominated in Britain. The name Colyer comes from when one of the family worked as a person who made or sold charcoal. The surname Colyer is derived from the Old English word col, which means coal; as such it is thought to have originally been an occupational name for a burner of charcoal or a gatherer or seller of coal. [1]

Early Origins of the Colyer family

The surname Colyer was first found in Lancashire where one of the first records of the name was Ranulf Colier listed there in 1150. A few years later, Bernard le Coliere was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Somerset in 1172. [1] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 revealed: Henry le Colyer in Buckinghamshire; Robert le Coliere in Bedfordshire; and Thomas le Colier in Huntingdonshire. Over one hundred years later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls list: Adam Colier; and Benedictus Colier. [2]

Early History of the Colyer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Colyer research. Another 106 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1350, 1685, 1677, 1622, 1678, 1656, 1730, 1699, 1680, 1732, 1680, 1650, 1726, 1650, 1622, 1678, 1622, 1708 and 1786 are included under the topic Early Colyer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Colyer Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Colyer has been spelled many different ways, including Collier, Collyer, Colier, Colyer, Colyar, Colyear and many more.

Early Notables of the Colyer family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Alexander Colyear (d. circa 1685), who was made the 1st Baronet Colyear of Holland in 1677; Giles Collier (1622-1678), an English divine; and David Colyear (c.1656-1730), who was created 1st Earl of Portmore in 1699. Arthur Collier (1680-1732), was an English philosopher and "metaphysician, born 12 Oct. 1680 at Langford Magna, Wiltshire, a family living which had been held by his great-grandfather. His grandfather, Henry Collier, succeeded and was ejected under the Commonwealth. Two of Henry Collier's sons were transported to Jamaica for their share in Penruddocke's rising at Salisbury. " [3] Jeremy Collier...
Another 123 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Colyer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Colyer family to Ireland

Some of the Colyer family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Colyer migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Colyer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Colyer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Winchester" in 1838 [4]
  • Maryann Colyer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Winchester" in 1838 [4]
  • George Colyer, aged 26, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Macedon" [5]
  • John Colyer, aged 17, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Macedon" [5]
  • Jane Colyer, aged 21, a housemaid, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Emigrant" [6]

New Zealand Colyer migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Colyer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Colyer, aged 17, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Berar" in 1875
  • Mr. Thomas Colyer, (b. 1861), aged 18, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Stad Haarlem" arriving in Lyttleton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1879 [7]
  • Mr. H. Colyer, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Tongariro" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 13th August 1887 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Colyer (post 1700) +

  • Vincent Colyer (1825-1888), American artist noted for his images of the American West
  • Sergeant Wilbur E. Colyer (1898-1918), American soldier awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery
  • Kenneth Colyer (1928-1988), British jazz trumpeter and cornetist
  • Evelyn Lucy Colyer (1902-1930), British Olympic tennis player
  • Harold Colyer Conklin (1926-2016), American anthropologist
  • Brigadier-General Edwin Colyer McNeil (1882-1965), American Chairman of Board of Review, Office of the Judge Advocate-General (1936-1937) [8]


The Colyer Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Nemo sine cruce beatus
Motto Translation: No one is happy but by the cross.


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) WINCHESTER 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838Winchester.htm
  5. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 11 January 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MACEDON 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/macedon1853.shtml
  6. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 25th October 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Emigrant 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/emigrant1854.shtml.
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2013, May 9) Edwin McNeil. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/McNeil/Edwin_Colyer/USA.html


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