name Collier (also seen as Colyer, Collear, Colleer and Colliar)
seems to have two different origins. Although the initial one is
certainly correct for many UK Colliers, the latter may also be possible.
most common origin is that the name derives from the old English
word 'Col' (coal) meaning charcoal burner. A collier was someone
who would make or sell charcoal for burning, and later a miner who
would dig for coal, coke and such. The term seems to stretch back
in this form to pre-Elizbeth I times when charcoal burning became
common. Certainly in the case of my family, charcoal burning was
a known trade in the area of Devon which they originate from.
second possible origin is that the name comes from the French word
Colliere (? spelling) meaning 'Necklace'. I don't know so much else
about this. There are a lot of Colliers in France today and my earliest
memory was of my Father telling me that someone had traced our family
back to a Baron Collier in France. I have since found this to not
be true as such, however the earliest records of Colliers in Britain
are around the Doomsday book (1080-1180AD) where 'de Colliere' does
also had further information on this variation from a
Mike Collier I met through the web. He said "Some years back
I saw a image of a Sir Guy de Collier (or similar) in a stained
glass window in church/chapel in Mont St Michael in Normandy."
Additionally, several of the French people I have worked with over
the years have said 'Ah, you have a French surname, do you know
what this name means?'.
recently, I found this text on the Collier forum of geneaology.com.
The credit for posting it goes to Robert E Collier......
may properly credit the Romans with originating our modern system
of names, but we may equally blame the demise of this intelligent
practice on the barbarians who swept across western Europe between
the third and fifth centuries AD. During the Dark Ages (following
the fall of Rome) most Europeans were known first only by their
given name, and later occasionally by their given name prefixed
to their place of birth.
advent of the eleventh century, however, saw the cultural, social,
and economic conditions in Europe grow more complex. Populations
increased dramatically; the rise of feudalism and the early stirring
of mercantilism supplanted the simple communal life of the country
village. All these developments forced people into ever-growing
towns and cities. Communications, the handmaid of commerce, became
more efficient. Under such conditions, the use of a single name
caused increasing confusion, and soon, the hereditary surname (a
last name, bequeathed to each generation of children in the same
or similar (form) found growing acceptance.
the most notable instance of this development was the introduction
of feudalism into England with the Norman Invasion of 1066. Within
the space of three generations, the French worked an almost total
transformation of English culture. In particular, the Anglo-Saxon
and Celtic language was merged with and in some cases was replaced
by the native tongue of the new Norman rulers. In the course of
time other modifications followed and hereditary surnames achieved
a clearly defined order previously unknown. Beginning in the seventeenth
century this system was transferred virtually intact to the American
family name COLLIER is a good example of the evolutionary nature
of this system. It derives from the occupation of coal mining, and
as a term is still in use in Britain. "Coleman" was another
name for the miner or seller of coal and still survived as a modern
surname. Prior to the "machine age" coal mining involved
the labour of many men for a small output. It was tedious, dirty,
and dangerous and probably attracted young men without other skills
and few prospects of getting them. Where several generations of
a family worked in coal, the secondary name "the Collier"
would become readily associated with them.
Many surnames, like the family name COLLIER, evolved directly or
indirectly from the occupational titles. Those possessing a trade
were well respected by their neighbors and consequently were usual
identified by a personal name followed by their occupation. Alternately,
other descriptive "tags" might be used to convey information
about the person being named. Since few other forms of communication
were available to the medieval British, "word of mouth"
was an important source of information.
surname types derived in a similar manner from place of residence,
relationship, and nicknames. Occupational surnames comprise the
third largest of the four classes of surname origin. The remaining
three in order of size are: place names (Fields, Stones), relationships
(Williamson, Williams), and nicknames (Short, Black). Because of
the evolutionary nature of name development, it is virtually impossible
to pinpoint the exact date of the formation of any new name. COLLIER,
of course, is no exception. However, some of the ancient records
of early forms of the name and show usage as early as 1273.
names listed below are excerpts from these records:
Henri le Colyer - County Buchinghamshire - Hundred
Robert le Coliere - County Bedfordshire - Hundred Rolls, 1273
Thomas le Colier - Country Huntingdonshire - Hundred Rolls, 1273
Adam Colier - Yorkshire Poll Tax, 1379
Benedictus Colier - Yorkshire Poll Tax, 1379
surname COLLIER is found in the English counties of Surrey, Cheshire,
Berkshire, Devon and Staffordshire. By the time of the first census
in America in 1790, many COLLIER families had settled in this country.
The average COLLIER household had 5.5 members and census records
indicate that many more COLLIER head-of-households living in Virginia,
North Carolina, and Kentucky than in any other part of America.
Official United States records compiled in 1974 indicate that in
that year COLLIER was the 487th most frequently occurring surname
in the nation. In 1978 there were approximately 56,200 adult Americans
named COLLIER. The first immigrants were the English, who were to
lead all other nationalities in immigration until the first half
of the nineteen century, when Irish and German immigrants began
to arrive in large numbers. Early English immigrants consisted,
basically, of two different groups who settled in two different
place: the Puritans in Massachusetts and the Cavaliers in Virginia.
GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE, 1235 Kenilworth Ave, N. E., Washington,
D. C. 20019.]
are the earliest Colliers/Colyers/ etc known in the the records
that have come down to us? Where were they from?
origin of the family name COLLIER was probably the village of Caulieres
in France, and the first recorded use of the name was in a cartulary
of Selincourt Abbey in 1217, when one of the witnesses was "Frater
Johannes de Caoulieres" [Source:
ANTIQUARIES DEPICARDIE, Vol 40. Amiens; grant by Godefrid deMianny.]
de Liestes was born in the village of Liestre, 44 km south-east
of Boulogne, Department of Pas-de-Calais, north-east France. He
was the younger son of a baronial family who, as a young man was
apparently transferred, by the mother abbey to Selincourt Abbey,
which assigned him as a bailiff or magistrate to the management
of the village of Caulieres. The evidence indicates that he was
not a member of the clergy and the designation "Frater"
was probably a courtesy title he because of his duties in connection
with the village of Caulieres. Johannes adopted the name of the
village of his emplyoyment, Caulieres, as his surname and became
the founder of a prolific family. He did not possess a feudal estate
since the entire village belonged to the abbey, so each of his sons
had to acquire his own estate through purchase, marriage, military
service, or other means. As a result. the Caulieres family spread
widely over ancient picardy and Arthos, but disappeared from the
village whose name they bore: A variety of coats-of-arms arose among
the various family branches. The forename Robert occurred repeatedly
throughout the Department of Pas-de-Calais in this region that our
ancestor Robert Coleire was born about 1453.
was born near the end of the Hundred Year War (1337-1437) between
France and England The English kings controlled much of France.
William the conqueror was also was Duke of Normandy so his heirs
continued to rule that important part of France. Eleanor of Aquintain,
heiress of that vast feudal estate that included most south-western
France, was divorced by King Louis VII of France and married an
English prince who became King Henry II of England.
English kings held their French lands as vassals of the King of
France while ruling England in their own right. In theory their
lands were part of the French kingdom, but in practice they belonged
to England. Fighting over feudal claims went on for several centuries,
but in the 14th centuries the trouble blazed into a national war
that lasted over a hundred years. For a time war went badly for
the French. Then Joan of Arc changed the course of events, leading
the French in the defense of Orleans. She also recaptured the city
of Reins where the French kings were crowned, making possible the
coronation of the Dauphin, heir to the crown. The new King was lazy
and did not follow up on the victories and later, the English captured
Joan and burned her at the stake. According to legend, one of English
soldiers who had come rejoice at the death was heard to cry out,
"We are lost; we have burned a saint!" The English cause
was indeed lost. In the next few years, the French slowly drove
back the invaders until only Calais. France remained in English
hands. Calais, France was controlled by England until 1558.
COLEIRE de DARLASTON (c.1453- c.1505)
Coleire was born in France about 1453 and died in Staffordshire,
England about 1505. He married lsabella Doddington, daughter of
Sir John Doddington, about 1483. Robert Colleire came to England
about 1482, long preceeding the arrival of other members of his
family in England and Ireland. He settled in the market town of
Stone Manor, in Straffordshire County, England. The town stands
on the river Trent and Trent Mersey Canal, 7 miles north nortwest
of Strafford, 7 miles south of Stoke-upon-Trent, and 137 miles from
London. He was a taylor (tailor), draper (a dealer in cloth or in
(clothes), then a woolbuyer. Some of these staplers (dealers in
staple goods) grew to great wealth. In the year 1503, two years
before his death, Robert and Isabella moved to Darlaston Manor.
Robert and his son Thurston leased Darlaston Manor, in the county
of Staffordshire, from Thomas Whally, then in 1537, Robert's son,
James purchased the manor from Richard Whalley.
for a brief time Robert's great grandson, James Collier, sold the
manor to his father-in-law in 1597 and until his son Francis re-purchased
it from his grandfather in 1597, there was a Collier (Coleire) as
Lord of Darlaston over 180 years, until a great-great-great-great-grandson,
James Collier (Coleire) sold it to William Jervis in 1685.
[Source: Anne Laidley Collier, 210 West Main Street
, Uniontown, PA Chapter did an genealogy study of relatives that
served in the Revolutionary War for the DAR Chapter GREAT MEADOWS
and it was forward to: Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington,
D. C. It was based on Col. Charles Swan service during the Revolutionary
there was also this information posted to the same forum from Donna
Dictionary of English Surnames gives us the following: COLIAR, COLIER,
COLIERE, COLLIAR, COLLIER, COLLEER, COLLYER, COLYEAR, COLYEAR, COLYER
formed from "col" a derivative of coal, a maker or seller
of charcoal in ancient times (a1375 MED).
[Source - Dictionary of English Surnames
1995 pub Oxford Press by P H Reaney. ]
[a1375 MED - Middle English Dictionary ed
H Kurah, SM Kuhn and J Reidy, Ann Arbor 1954]
a referred to by your occupation was a common practice in early
times, This was a migratory occupation, workers moved along with
their jobs, much like many of us today, Movement from one coal producing
area to another, perhaps leaving relatives along the way, created
pockets of surname. Many of these pockets survived, multiplied and
give us the origins of our personal lines today.
research done by Ronald Collier, (Appalachian Genealogist, Cumberland,
KY) England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland certainly had coal producing
areas. The names survive in many modern families, particularily
in England. COLYEAR was the most common in Scotland where the family
was a branch of the powerful and famous Robertson Clan.
examples from the Dictionary of English Surnames with sources and
notes from the editors.-
COLLIER at 1150 (L) found in Lincolnshire
[Source: FM Stenton, Documents illustrative of the Social and Economic
History of the Danelaw, London England 1920]
LE COLIERE, 1172 SO Somerset
[Source: (P) Pipe Rolls: Record Commission. 3 vol, London 1833-44:
Pipe Roll Soc (in progress); The Great Roll of the Pipe for the
26th year of Henry the Third, ed. H L Cannon, Yale Hist, Pub 1918.]
Ireland, the first appearance of the name COLLIER is for Colliertown
in County Meath 1305. The name also extended into Carlow Kilkenny
and Wexford Counties.
France: COLLIER developed fram a place name CAULLIERS and the noble
French family of COLYEAR DE PORTMORE of Ecosse had a Scottish heritage.
German version KOHLER, KOLLAR and KOLLER developed also from the
place of Kohler.
earliest COLLIER in America appears to be WILLIAM, appearing on
tax records 1633 and SARAH COLLIER married Love Brewster in 1634
in Plymouth, MA. Love Brewsters' father was William, the Captain
of the Mayflower which landed at Plymouth Rock, MA 1620.
1620 until today, COLLIER remains an active surname. Colyer is less
active with approximately 1000 hits in the 1990 (US) census. COLLYER
is even more rare.
The Collier Coat of Arms
of Arms were developed in the Middle Ages as a means of identifying
warriors in battle and tournaments. The present function of the
Coat of Arms (although still one of identity) serves more to preserve
the traditions that arose from its earlier use.
artists of old developed their own unique language to describe an
individual Coat of Arms. The Coat of Arms was drawn by an heraldic
artist from information recorded in ancient heraldic archives. Our
research indicates that there are often times a number of different
Coats of Arms recorded for a specific surname. When possible we
select and translate the Coat of Arms most representative of your
surname or its variant for illustration.
COLLIER coats of arms here is officially documented in Rietstap's
armorial general. The original description of the arms (shield)
is as follows:
A LA CROIX PATFEE AU PIED FICHE DE GU.; AU CANTON D'AZUR, CH. D'UN
CHATEAU AU NAT., LEMUR BATTU EN BRECHE."
translated the blazon also describes the original colours of the
Collier arms as:
A RED PATIZE FITCHEE CROSS; A BLUE UPPER CORNER CHARGED WITH A NATURALLY
COLORED CASTE, THE WALLS ARE DAMAGED WITH HOLES." ABOVE THE
SHIELD AND HELMET IS THE CREST WHICH IS DESCRIBED AS: "A GOLD
PATFEE FITCHEE CROSS BETWEEN TWO BLACK WINGS, EACH WING STREWN WITH
GOLD ERMINE SPOTS."
anyone has further information on the name, please do mail me firstname.lastname@example.org
and we will include the information here for everyone.