This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name for a dweller by a group of holly trees or holm oak, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "holegn, holen", in Middle English "holi(e), holn". The modern surname from this source has a number of variant forms, ranging from Holli(e)s, Holles and Holliss to Oles, Ollis, Hollin(s), Hollen(s) and Holly. Topographical surnames were among the earliest to be created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages.The surname development includes the following early examples: Robert del Holins (1297, Yorkshire), Nicholas del Holyn (1301, ibid.), John in the Holis (1327, Suffolk), and Richard del Holyes (1332, Staffordshire). Recordings of the name from English Church Registers include the marriage of Samuel Oles and Jana Jessoppe at Elland, Yorkshire, on November 6th 1615; the christening of Mary Ollice at St. Peter's, Leeds, on May 31st 1731; and the marriage of Cornelius Ollis and Mary Williams on December 25th 1770 at Hanwell, in London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name depicts on a blue shield, three torteaux on a gold bend. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam atte Holies, which was dated 1275, in the "Worcester Subsidy Rolls", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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