Recorded in a number of spellings as shown below, this is an ancient English surname, and one of the earliest surname ever recorded anywhere. It is occupational, and describes or described a charcoal maker or just possibly an early coal merchant or miner. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th century word "col", meaning originally charcoal, with the agent suffix "(i)er", denoting "one who does or works with". Job-descriptive surnames were amongst the first to be created, but they only became hereditary, if and when, a son followed the father into the same line of business.Early examples of the surname include: Bernard le Coliere, in the Somersetshire Pipe Rolls of 1172; Henry le Colyer, in the Buckinghamshire Hundred Rolls of 1275, and John le Collier, in the London Patent Rolls of 1280. The modern surname forms include Collar, Coller, Collier, Colliar, Colliard, Collyer, Colyer, Collyear and Colleer. Amongst the early recordings of the name in surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London are those of the marriages of John Collyer and Awdrey Parteridg at St. Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on April 19th 1561, and of Thomas Coller who married Elizabeth Prowes on May 26th 1583, at St. Bartholomew the Less. One of the coat of arms granted to a family of the name has the blazon of a red shield, charged with a silver chevron, and thereon three red roses stalked and leaved green, between three silver wolves' heads erased. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ranulf Colier. This was dated 1150, in the registers known as The Danelaw for the county of Lincolnshire. This was during the reign of King Stephen, also known as the "Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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