This long-established name is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational surname for a burner of charcoal, or a gatherer or seller of coal. The name derives from the Middle English "cole", (char)coal, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "col", with the agent suffix "(i)er", denoting "one who does or works with". Job-descriptive surnames were originally acquired with reference to the actual occupation of the namebearer, and gradually became hereditary. 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 circa 1280. The modern surname forms range from Collier, Colliar and Colliard, to Collyer, Colyer, Collyear and Colleer. Among the recordings of the name in London Church Registers are those of the marriages of John Collyer and Awdrey Parteridg at St. Dunstan in the East, on April 19th 1561, and of Thomas Collyer and Elizabeth Prowe on May 26th 1583, at St. Bartholomew the Less. One of the Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name is a red shield, on a silver chevron 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, which was dated 1150, in "Documents relating to the Danelaw", Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Stephen, known as "County of Blois", 1135 - 1154. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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