Show ContentsLeyrer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Leyrer family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found in Leire, in Leciestershire, or in Layer in Essex. They are all derived from an ancient Celtic river name, Leir. [1]

Alternatively, the name could have been an occupational name for 'the layer,' i.e. a stone layer, one who sets the stones in building, a waller. [2]

"'Layere, or werkare wythe stone and mortere, cementarius': Promptorium Parvulorum, and v. Way's note thereon. Probably the term was familiar to Norfolk, as the above quotation suggests, for Layer has been a Norfolk surname for many centuries." [3]

And another source has a slightly different origin, noting the name was from the "French layeur, a forest surveyor; one who makes roads through forests." [4]

Early Origins of the Leyrer family

The surname Leyrer was first found in Lincolnshire, where Hugh de Leir was registered in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1275. Years later, Alice le Eyr (Leyr) was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Essex in 1327 and in the same year, William le Eyr was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk. [1]

As mentioned Norfolk became a stronghold for the family. The source History of Norfolk lists: George Layer, of Bury, Surrey, 1429; William Layer, Sheriff of Norwich, 1526 and Mayor, 1537; and Mary Layer, 1710, Boughton, Norfolk. A marker notes 'Here resteth the body of Mary, daughter of Christopher Layer, citizen and alderman of Norwich, who deceased the 9th of October, 1602' [5]

Early History of the Leyrer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leyrer research. Another 129 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1275, 1291, 1327, 1327, 1429, 1526, 1537, 1661, 1531, 1600, 1683, 1723 and 1723 are included under the topic Early Leyrer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leyrer Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Leyrer include Layer, Layar, Layre, Leyr, Leyre and others.

Early Notables of the Leyrer family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Christopher Layer (1531-1600), of Norwich, Norfolk, an English merchant, burgess of Norwich, and briefly a Member of Parliament. He was the son of William Layer, Mayor of Norwich and Elizabeth, daughter of John Marsham of Norwich, gentleman. The four figurines encased in the two pilasters of The Layer Monument, also known as The Layer Quaternity in the Church of St John Maddermarket are rare examples of Northern Mannerism sculpture in Britain. Another...
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Leyrer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Leyrer family

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled 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 ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Leyrer or a variant listed above: Adam Layar who arrived in Philadelphia in 1749; John Hend Layer who sailed to Nova Scotia in 1752; and Henry Layer who sailed to Philadelphia in 1765..

Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)
  • William Chase Leyrer (1942-1988), American Businessman from Bay Shore, New York, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [6]

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  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. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  6. Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook