Recorded as Hold, Holde, Hould, Houlds, Houlder and Holder, this is an English occupational surname. It describes or described a shepherd, or someone employed as a tender of animals. The derivation is from the Olde English verb "heald", meaning to to guard, in Middle English "hold". In some cases the surname may have arisen from the use of the term "holder" to mean a tenant holder of land within the feudal system of medieval England. Early examples of the name recording include Robert Holdere, a landowner in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Norfolk, in 1275, and Robert le Holdere in the Hundred Rolls of Gloucestershire, in the same year.Other early examples of recordings include that in the year 1576 of Hamlet Holder, the son of Humfrey Holder, who was christened at Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire, whilst Anne Holde at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on November 26th 1582. An interesting bearer of the name was William Holder (1616 - 1698). Amongst his many accomplishments were his teaching of a deaf-mute to speak, his fellowship of the Royal Society in 1663, and his contribution to the education of the great British architect, Sir Christopher Wren. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey le Holde. This was dated 1262, in the Assize Court Rolls of Hertfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 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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