Hellier History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Hellier was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Hellier family lived in Devon. This name is, however, not a reference to that area, but to the family's place of residence prior to their emigration to England with the Norman Conquest of 1066, St. Hellier, near Rouen, Normandy. [1]

Alternatively the name could have been derived from "the Anglo-Saxon helan, like the southern provincialism, to heal, signifies to cover; and in the West of England a hellier is a thatcher or tiler, equivalent to the French couvreur, one who covers buildings with any material whatever. It was a kind of generic appellative, including the Thatchers, Tylers, Slaters, Shinglers, and Reeders, all of whom are also separately represented in our family nomenclature. In Walsingham's History, the arch-traitor, Wat Tyler, is designated 'Walterus Helier.' " [2]

Early Origins of the Hellier family

The surname Hellier was first found in Devon.

While many of the family hail from Devon, early rolls proved the widespread use of the name likely as an occupational one. In Kent, Robert le Heliere was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1275; Gilbert le Helyere was listed in Hampshire in 1280 and Robert le Hillier was found in Bedforshire in 1347. [3]

There were two early records in Somerset: Michael le Helier and William le Heliere, both listed 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) [4]

The reader should note that all these early entries include "le" in reference to the trade as in, Robert "the" Heliere and so on.

Early History of the Hellier family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hellier research. Another 123 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1662, 1697, 1662, 1677, 1680, 1682, 1690, 1697, 1684, 1687, 1535, 1503, 1522, 1524 and 1525 are included under the topic Early Hellier History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hellier Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Hellier, Helliar, Helyar, Hellyer and others.

Early Notables of the Hellier family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Hellier (1662?-1697), English divine, born at Chew-Dundry, Somersetshire, about 1662, the son of Henry Hellier. He became scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in April 1677, and graduated B.A. 1680, M.A. 1682, B.D. 1690, and D.D. 1697. He was ordained deacon at Christ Church...
Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hellier Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Hellier migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Hellier or a variant listed above:

Hellier Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jon Hellier, who arrived in Virginia in 1634 [5]
  • Isaac, John and Peter Hellier, who, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Marjorie, Mary, Robert, Thomas Hellier, who settled in Barbados between 1654 and 1684

Canada Hellier migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Hellier Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Richard Hellier, who arrived in St. John's Newfoundland in about 1763 [6]
Hellier Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Hellier, (b. 1817), aged 38, English settler, from Poltimore, Devon, England, UK departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, he survived the sinking [7]
  • Mrs. Ellen Hellier, (b. 1819), aged 36, English settler, from Poltimore, Devon, England, UK departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, she died in the sinking [7]
  • Mr. William Hellier, (b. 1843), aged 12, English settler, from Poltimore, Devon, England, UK departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, he died in the sinking [7]
  • Miss Dinah Hellier, (b. 1845), aged 10, English settler, from Poltimore, Devon, England, UK departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, she died in the sinking [7]
  • Miss Harriett Hellier, (b. 1847), aged 8, English settler, from Poltimore, Devon, England, UK departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, she died in the sinking [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Hellier migration to Australia +

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

Hellier Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Hellier, (Hillier), English brick maker who was convicted in Dorset, England for life for theft, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. John Hellier, English convict who was convicted in Worcestershire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Champion" on 24th May 1827, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • William Hellier, aged 19, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Constance" [10]
  • Mr. George Hellier, (Jones, Charles), English convict who was convicted in Exeter, Devon, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 1st January 1850, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia [11]
  • George Hellier, aged 25, a brickmaker, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Northern Light" [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Hellier 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:

Hellier Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Farnham Hellier, (b. 1803), aged 38, British lime burner, born in Dorset travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in New Plymouth, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand via Wellington on 7th November 1841 [13]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Hellier née Pattimore, (b. 1805), aged 36, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in New Plymouth, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand via Wellington on 7th November 1841 [13]
  • Mr. Thomas Hellier, (b. 1826), aged 15, British settler, born in Dorset travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in New Plymouth, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand via Wellington on 7th November 1841 [13]
  • Mr. William Hellier, (b. 1827), aged 13, British settler, born in Dorset travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in New Plymouth, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand via Wellington on 7th November 1841 [13]
  • Miss Sarah Hellier, (b. 1830), aged 11, British settler, born in Dorset travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in New Plymouth, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand via Wellington on 7th November 1841 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Hellier (post 1700) +

  • Ralph Augustus Hellier, American head of a Pike County coal mining company, founder of Hellier, is an unincorporated community in Pike County, Kentucky
  • Cyril and Libbye Hellier (b. 1952), American operatic sopranos and identical twins
  • Samuel B. Hellier, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Connecticut 2nd District, 1974 [14]
  • Sir Samuel Hellier (d. 1751), English aristocrat who owned The Wodehouse, a country house near Wombourne, Staffordshire and the Hellier Stradivarius for almost 200 years
  • Trudy Hellier, Australian Writers' Guild Award and Australian Film Institute Award winning actress, known for Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010), Breaking News (1994) and The Funk (2008)
  • Kirsten Louise Hellier (b. 1969), New Zealand silver medalist javelin thrower at the 1994 Commonwealth Games
  • William Hellier Baily (1819-1888), English palaeontologist, Assistant Curator in the Bristol Museum (1837-1844), nephew of E.H. Baily, the sculptor


The Hellier 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: Pro republica semper
Motto Translation: For the state always.


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  7. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/wreck_of_emigrant_ship_john_1855.pdf
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  9. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 18th January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/champion)
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CONSTANCE 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Constance.htm
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/australasia
  12. ^ South Australian Register Monday 9th April 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Norther Light 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/northernlight1855.shtml
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 16) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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