This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an occupational name for a dyer of cloth, from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "deager", dyer, an agent derivative of "deag", dye. The name has, for the most part, retained its medieval spelling (Middle English "dyer"), unlike many other occupational surnames, although there are Dyster and Dexter, originally used of female dyers, but later of men too; hence the male personal name "Dexter". Early examples of the surname include Robert le Deyare, mentioned in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1275; Alexander Dyghere recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296; and one Henry le Dyer listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Derbyshire in 1327. Isaack Dyer was one of the convicted Monmouth Rebels transported to the Barbadoes in 1685. Sir James Dyer (1512 - 1582) was M.P. for Cambridgeshire in 1547, knighted in 1552 and speaker of the House of Commons in 1553, later becoming judge of the Queen's bench. A Coat of Arms was granted to a Dyer family in Aldebury, Hertfordshire in 1575, which depicts three silver goats passant, attired gold on a black shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry le Deghar, which was dated 1260, in the "Middle English Occupation Register of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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