Recorded as Helder and Holder, this is an interesting English medieval surname. There are two possible origins. The first is residential or possibly occupational from the ancient verb "healdan", meaning to keep or guard. As such it may have described somebody sent by a land owner to occupy vacant land and prevent it being used by other would be occupiers. The second is clearly residential from the word "hylde" and meaning a slope, a helder being somebody who lived on a hillside. Examples of the early recordings include Christian le Heldere in the Curia Regis rolls of Hertfordshire in the year 1212, Robert Holdere in the Hundred Rolls of landowners of Norfolk in 1273, and Robert le Holdere in the Hundred Rolls of Gloucestershire, dated 1274.Other recordings include Hamlet Holder, christened at Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire in 1576, and Elizabeth Helder who married Richard Collinson at the church of St Mildred Poultry in the city of London, on September 9th 1612. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey le Holder. This was dated 1262, in the Assize Court Rolls of Hertfordshire, 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 sometimes 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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