Helyar History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Helyar is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Helyar 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 Helyar family

The surname Helyar 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 Helyar family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Helyar 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 Helyar History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Helyar Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Helyar include Hellier, Helliar, Helyar, Hellyer and others.

Early Notables of the Helyar 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 Helyar Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Helyar family

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Helyars to arrive on North American shores: Isaac, John and Peter Hellier, who settled in Virginia in 1654; Marjorie, Mary, Robert, Thomas Hellier settled in Barbados between 1654 and 1684; Robert and Thomas Hellyer settled in Barbados in 1685..


Contemporary Notables of the name Helyar (post 1700) +

  • Alexandra Helyar, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Massachusetts, 2012


The Helyar 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.


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