This very unusual surname is 13th century Medieval English, and is recorded in an equally unusual number of spellings. These include such forms as Holliar, Hollyar, Hawler, Howler, Holyard, Hollyard, Hollors, Hulliard, Oller, Olliers, and Oyler! They all derive in whole or part from original residence by either a place of worship, probably a pagan temple or a holy-yard, with "yard" being an enclosed area, or from living or working in a "holly wood". Holly, being a very hard wood, had many uses in the olden times, and the specialist growing of holly was a major industry.The fact that there are so many varied forms of the surname is testament to both the vigorous local dialects and the inablility of local clerics to spell anything but the most obvious names. There has been a suggestion that the name is Norman-French and in the form as Ollier or Oller, this in some cases, may be so. If this is the case, then it is a short or nickname form of the personal name Olivier or Oliver. Early examples of the surname recordings include such examples as Elsbeth Oliar, who married Richard Dod at St Antholin's church, Budge Row, London, on October 13th 1562, Maryan Holyard, christened at St Andrews by the Wardrobe, city of London, on July 5th 1576, and Isaac Ollyer, who married May Watkins at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on January 21st 1699. The first recording of the name may be that of Roberte Olyvyer in the Assize Rolls of the city of Cambridge, in the year 1260. This was during the reign of King Henry 111 of England, 1216 - 1272.
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