Holyes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The present generation of the Holyes family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived near a field of holly having derived from the word for holly in the language of the time. In Old English the word for holly is holegn, or possibly holen, or even holen. The original bearer of the name lived near a patch of holly noted for its fecundity. (Bardsely)

While the name is generally accepted to be Anglo-Saxon, one source claims that it originated in Normandy as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae records Robert de Holis, Normandy, 1198. [1]

Adding the "n" as in Hollins, was quite common as both refer to the "holly" origin. [2]

Early Origins of the Holyes family

The surname Holyes was first found in Worcester, where Adam atte Holies, atte Holye was listed in the Subsidy Rolls in 1275 and 1327. A few years later, Robert del Holins was found in Yorkshire in 1297 and Nicholas del Holyn was listed in the Subsidy Rolls there in 1301. John in the Holls was in the Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk in 1327 and Richard del Holyes was in the Subsidy Rolls for Staffordshire in 1332. [2]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Willelmus del Holyns; Alicia del Holyns; Johannes Holyn; Johannes Holvns; and Johannes del Holyns. [3]

"Hollins was the name of a firm of potters a century ago in Stoke-on-Trent, [Staffordshire] where the name still remains." [4]

Early History of the Holyes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Holyes research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1540, 1711, 1694, 1534, 1535, 1577, 1619, 1471, 1542, 1595, 1666, 1633, 1689, 1564, 1637, 1599, 1680, 1642, 1607, 1675, 1640, 1642, 1627 and 1690 are included under the topic Early Holyes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Holyes Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Holyes include Hollis, Holles, Hollys, Hollyes, Holleis, Hollies and others.

Early Notables of the Holyes family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir William Holles (or Hollyes) (1471-1542), Lord Mayor of London; John Holles, 2nd Earl of Clare (1595-1666), an English nobleman; Gilbert Holles, 3rd Earl of Clare (1633-1689); John Holles, 1st Earl of Clare (1564-1637), an English nobleman; Denzil Holles, 1st Baron Holles PC (1599-1680), an English statesman and writer, best known as...
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Holyes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Holyes family

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Holyes were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: Henry Holles settled in New England in 1709 with his wife; John Hollis settled in Maryland in 1654; John and Edith Hollis settled in Virginia in 1623.



  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. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.


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