Recorded as Holm, Holme, Home, Homes, Holmes, Holms, and the compounds Homewood, Holmwood and Holmyard, this is an English surname. However its antecedants are pre 7th century when it can be either old English or Danish-Viking. It is both locational and topgraphical, the derivation being from residence at a 'holm' or from one of the places named Holm(e), found in the most counties of the East Anglian region, and more sparingly in other counties as well. The village names recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 appear as Hougan, Holun, Holm, Olm, and Holna, so much for early spellings.Most of the placenames have the same meaning of an area of dry land in a fen, or perhaps a piece of land partially surrounded by water. As Holmyard this would mean a holm surrounded by a fenced or walled area. It is generally agreed that in East Anglia the derivation is from the Norse-Viking 'holmr' which means an island, those from further afield may derive from the Olde English "holegn", meaning holly woods, or 'holm' meaning the 'holm oak', which in Saxon times was often the local meeting point of the area, or even 'haugum', a rare Norse word for a hill. This would apply in the case of 'Holme on the Wolds' in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Early examples of the name recording include Urkell de Holmes, in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire in 1219, and John atte Holme in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Later examples are those of Robert Holmwood at Allhallows church, London Wall, on April 14th 1659, and much later that of Elizabeth Holmyard, at the same church, but on May 3rd 1789. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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