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This web page was begun in 2005 to exchange information among those with genealogical interest in the Yorkshire surnames Holroyd & Howroyd. They are generally accepted as having their roots in West Yorkshire, & and are separate names today, but were they always so? The very similarity of the names provide pitfalls for the genealogist. In old records so much depended on the scribe; his literary skills; and his interpretation of local pronunciation. Witness the fact that in Bradford parish registers there can be found entries that are written "Howroyd or Holroyd".
Hopefully this page could become a forum for those researching Holroyd, Howroyd,as well as other variations such as Holdroyde, Holroyde and Houlroyd. There would be those who can help settle the confusion that occurs in some records. And there would be others who are willing to contribute their knowledge of individual families.
To date there are three people who are interested in this idea. An outline of their contributions & their contact details follow. Please note that the addresses have been modified to avoid spam trawling, & will need to be "repaired" before using .
STEVE HOLROYD lives in Sydney New South Wales,Australia & can be contacted at steveholroyd(at)bigpond.com.au
Steve has been researching the names for some time, & would welcome contact with others interested in the two surnames and the variations of those surnames.He maintains extensive records regarding Holroyd families in Australia (both past and present) and would gladly respond to enquiries.He also has records of some of the UK Holroyd families of medieval times, particularly those from the Ancient Parish of Halifax and would like to hear from anyone with a like interest.
BRIAN HOWROYD lives in Tasmania,Australia & his email address is trypot(at)gmail.com.
Brian's research into his extended family in the UK, South Africa, Australia, the USA, & Canada can be seen on the internet. His Web Page is the 'Howroyd File' at http://tinyurl.http//com/agx969
As is the case with many surnames the spelling of Holroyd has changed over the centuries. The earliest derivative of the name in the International Genealogical Index (LDS) was William de Howroyde in 1251.The subsequent five generations show the progressive name change to Holroide and eventually Holroyd. Over the centuries there have been more than 20 variations of the surname recorded including Houlroyde, Holeroyd, Hooleroyde and Holdroyde. In modem times the variations are limited to mainly Holroyde and Howroyd. The name Holroyd means literally the clearing in the hole or hollow.
The De Howroyde's were from Barkisland in West Yorkshire, a hamlet in Rishworth less than 10 km from Halifax. This was the time (13th century) when the use of surnames, particularly among the more well to do families, became prevalent. Many of these names were based on the locality of their residence. Hence we have examples such as Henry de Rishworth, John de Eland, John de Barkisland and Hugh de Cockroft being recorded at that time in manorial court rolls. Near Barkisland there is a place that still exists today known as Howroyd.
In the Halifax Antiquarian Society publication of 1905 entitled “Excursion to Rishworth” the author H.P Kendall makes the following comment:
"The name Holroyd literally means the clearing in the hole or hollow and in old deeds and documents the word is spelt in a variety of ways- Houlroide, Houleroyd, Hooleroyde, Oldroyd etc. The family originally sprang from Barkisland from a place called Holroyd, which in the process of time has become corrupted, and is now familiar as Howroyd. The Holroyds were extensive property owners in Rishworth at an eary date,and the name is met with frequently in the 14th century.The earliest date at which we are able to identify the family at Cockroft is in 1546 when a John “Hoolroode” of the “Cokroft” is mentioned in the will of a Thomas Woodhead of Hey House Barkisland."
There are only farm buildings there today but one can be certain there was a connection with the early Holroyd families in the area prior to 1500. Some distance removed from the village of Barkisland is Howroyde Hall. The oldest existing deeds showed this property to be owned by William Woodhead in 1419 and others including the Gledhill family until it came into the possession of the Horton family in 1639 and was rebuilt soon after. No records of its ownership before 1419 have been found. There are Holroyd researchers who believe that the original Howroyde Hall was preceeded by buildings that were owned by Galfridus de Holrode in about 1379.
There is an acknowledgement of de Holrode being a precursor to Holroyd. Reaney & Wilson in "A Dictionary of British Surnames" (p. 236 s.n. Holroyd dates de Holrode to 1327.)
The above postcard illustrates the building as built by George Houlroyde in 1607.(picture supplied by John Holroyd, Bicester Oxfordshire UK).
Click here for more Information re "Upper Cockroft"
The Holroyds sprang from Barkisland and lived in farm houses in the Rishworth area of West Yorkshire from an early date. One well documented home of Holroyds was the settlement of Cockroft in Barkisland and in particular the buildings known as Upper and Lower Cockroft in Rishworth. Upper Cockroft was a timber framed through passage F-plan house which was first mentioned in 1564 as the home of the family of Thomas Holroyde but was clearly occupied by Holroyds before that date. It was cased in stone by George Houlroyde in 1609.
There were a number of eminent families in the parish of Halifax including the Savilles, Gledhills, Hortons and the Priestleys, all resident in well documented manor houses and while information regarding the Holroyds is more infrequent, their presence in the area, particularly as extensive land and property owners in the west riding of Yorkshire and in the adjoining county of Lancashire, is well documented and acknowledged.
A Halifax Antiquarian Society paper entitled “Some of Our Local People Named Holroide” by H.Wright 1932 is an excellent information source.
Over the centuries, there was considerable intermarriage between Holroyds and other established families in the parish such as the Firths, Priestleys and particularly the Whiteleys and Crossleys.
Within a 10 km radius within the parish of Halifax there are a number of towns, villages and hamlets in which Holroyd families lived at the end of the 15th century and the descendants continue to live in this area to this day. These include the townships of Soweby, Elland, Barkisland and Stainland, and villages of Ripponden and Greetland, all in the ancient Parish of Halifax.
The Church of England Parish Church of Halifax was the mother church of the ancient Parish of Halifax. The parish covered a wide area and in addition to the mother church it was served by two chapels, Elland and Heptonstall, which though dependant had certain parochial rights and registers of their own. Of the 24 townships which were included in the parish, nine were attached to the chapel of Elland (Stainland, Soyland, Barkisland, Norland, Rastrick, Fixby, Rishworth, Sowerby and Elland) and five to Heptonstall (Todmorton, Langfield, Stansfield, Erringdon and Hepponstall) .
The remaining ten townships of Halifax, Hipperholme, Midgley, Northowram, Ovenden, Shelf, Southowram and Warley were directly dependant upon the Halifax Parish Church and are included in its registers. Records of burials, marriages and deaths commence from 1538. Records of Holroyds are prevalent from the mid 1500's.
The Elland Chapelry records of Holroyds during the 1500's are even more numerous with dozens of christenings being recorded in Latin (and transcribed by the LDS) during the later part of the sixteenth century. Up until the 18th century most Holroyds were farmers engaged in cottage industries which were mainly cloth making and weaving. Some initially drifted to the main population centers such as Halifax where they became businessmen such as clothiers and tailors, but the vast majority moved to the mills to be employed as weavers and other related trades in the in the textile industry. They did not have to move large distances as worsted and woolen mills became numerous in nearby centres such as Bradford,Huddersfield and Leeds during the industrial revolution.
To this day Holroyds proliferate in County of Yorkshire more than any other English county. In the 1881 UK census just over three thousand Holroyds resided in Yorkshire and the majority resided in the West Riding.
In the late 1700's and during the 1800's many Yorkshire Holroyds migrated to USA, Canada Australia and South Africa.
It can be said with a fair degree of certainty that all Holroyds would find their ancestry goes back to the towns and hamlets in the Halifax Parish of West Yorkshire.
Upper Cockroft in Rishworth was the location of those early families. In fact researchers are certain that a number of branches of Holroyd families may have lived in the settlement of Cockroft at that time (early 1500's) and made up the main trunk of the numerous more recent Holroyd family branches of the Holroyd tree.
John Holeroyde was born in 1500 at Cockroft Rishworth,West Yorkshire. He had inherited Upper Cockroft from his father Thomas Holroid who was born in Barkisland about 1462 and died in 1521. John had three sons William, Gilbert and John, all of whom produced large numbers of male offspring who no doubt seeded the Holroyd population in the area during the 16th century. There are many present day Holroyds who can trace their ancestry to this particular pioneer family.
Upper Cockroft was the Holroyd family home housing generations of Holroyds up until 1691 when the homestead was sold. It is interesting to compare the contents of will of William Holroyd who died in 1601. His will outlined the disposal of looms and other agrarian tools associated with the cottage industries of the times whereas a will of the next generation (George Houlroyde born 1572 died 1646) mentioned the disposal of considerable property.
While George resided at Cockroft he had accumulated other property and like other Holroyds in the area the family had become owners of extensive land and property holdings which were passed on to future generations.
Links have been established from this family to Holroyds at 'Kebroyd Hall' Soyland and to ancestral homes in Rishworth known as 'Hutchroyd' and 'Scole Carr'.
The original property at 'Kebroyd Hall' dates back to the 15th century. It was occupied by John Holroide prior to 1666 and Joseph Holroyde and Jeremiah Holroyde thereafter and was eventually purchased by Jeremiah and Grace Holroyde 1759. Kebroyd Hall was sold in 1817.
'Scoll Carr' in Rishworth was the farmhouse residence of John and William Holeroyde and their families in the 16th century. A James Holroyde was residing at Scoll Carr in 1806.
'Chapel Farm' homestead in Barkisland was occupied in about 1737 by the family of Isaac Holroide and his first wife Hannah and their seven children and his second wife Leah and their six children. It remained the family home of generations of Holroydes until late in the 19th century.
Also in Barkisland,'Bank Hall Farm' was first occupied by Isaac Holroyd born 1692, a great grandson of George Houlroyde of Hutchroyd .It continued to be occupied by Holroyd descendants up until recent times.
Benjamin Holroyd who was born at Cockroft (or Cawcroft as the settlement was sometimes called) in 1689 and in 1724 he and his wife Mary raised a family of ten children at 'Wood Lane Hall Sowerby'. Many of the children and their families lived at Wood Lane Hall including Elkanah and Martha Holroyde and their son James Holroyde and his wife Jane and three children.'Wood Lane Hall' in Sowerby was owned and occupied by Holroyds up until the beginning of the 19th Century.
Another Sowerby Holroyd family was that of John Holroyd who was born 1526 and married Margaret Garnet. There was at least one son John Gaugroag Holroyd.
Also in this locality was John Holroyd born about 1556 who married Isabelle Lome on the 3rd June 1581. Their seven children were John, James, Mary, Susan, Daniel, Samuel and Grace.
In the ancient village of Elland, part of the town of Rishworth a Thomas Houlroyde born about 1537 married Janeta Clay, there were two sons John and Peter Holroyd.
To this day most UK Holroyds are found in the Yorkshire and Lancashire Counties. A check of the telephone directory will confirm this and indicate a strong presence in Huddersfield, Bradford, Halifax and Sowerby West Yorkshire, and Rochdale (Lancashire). As for the variant surnames, subsequent census’s since 1841 have shown that as people in the 18th and 19th century became more literate and spelt the Holroyd surname correctly there were less variants used. Indicative of the antiquity of the Holroyd surname was the medieval ending “e” which was often after dropped for convenience reasons (although there is recorded instances of the “e” being added to obtain a commercial advantage). The most common accepted variants now days are Holroyde and Holdroyd. Howroyd and Oldroyd are not so widely accepted as variants and there will always be those who argue a case that they are surnames in their own right. The 1901 UK census showed 4458 Holroyds and variants (excluding Olroyd) of that surname. There were 1778 Oldroyds.
European settlement of Australia commenced with the arrival of the first fleet in 1788. The earliest record of the Holroyd surname on the shores of the colony of New South Wales was that of Thomas Holroyd who was married in 1794 to a female convict of some notoriety, Sophia Langford. But all is not what it seemed. Just as the inability to write and spell had led to many derivations of the Holroyd surname in the 16th century in the UK the same problem in the 18th century resulted in another surname being incorrectly recorded in church marriage records and early musters. The name Thomas Allwright was recorded as Holroyd (which is understandable when Allwright is spoken with a broad north county accent).There were five children. The first, Sara Holroyd was born 1799. So the Holroyds still recorded in NSW early birth and marriage records are incorrect, they were actually Allwrights. (Thomas W born 1806, Elizabeth born 1807, Sophia born 1809, George born 1811)
The first Holroyd to arrive in Australia was a convict.Between 1787 and 1867 over 160,000 convicts were transported to Australia. Among them where four Holroyds...
Joseph Holroyd.. arrived with a life sentence on the "Earl St Vincent" in 1820 and was sent to Parramatta where he was placed in the service of Isaac Reynolds, a Government servant. There is no record of his death and it is unlikely he returned to England as he had received a life sentence.
Edwin Holroyd.. arrived in Tasmania in 1842 aboard the "Moffat". He married Mary Irvine in 1850 in Hobart and presumably returned to England as there is no record of him after that event.
Henry Holroyd..arrived in Tasmania in 1853 aboard the "Oriental Queen" and returned to England on completing his sentence.
Abraham Holroyd.. was the first and only convict to marry and have a family in Australia. He arrived in New South Wales in 1830 on the "Nithsdale" with a life sentence for house breaking. He had a wife and three children back in Yorkshire but even though he was eventually conditionally pardoned he would never be allowed to return. After serving ten years in the Moruya district of NSW he was given permission to marry. He married Elizabeth Russell, an orphan who at age 21 had been sent from New Ross in Wexford Ireland with other women because of the male population imbalance in the colony.
The children of this marriage established themselves in Moruya in New South Wales and were the ancestors of many Holroyds in Australia most of whom resided in Sydney and the Grafton area in northern New South Wales.
Living descendants of Abraham and Elizabeth Holroyd make up the largest of the Holroyd family groups in Australia today. There are seven generations of this family on record in Australia, all descended from Abraham Holroyd. The ancestors of Abraham Holroyd in Yorkshire have also been traced back a further five generations to 1700.They were from the Bradford area in West Riding of Yorkshire.
The 1840's and 1850's was the main period when Holroyds began arriving in Australia as free settlers. However there were probably arrivals before those dates. The deaths of a Lavinia Holroyd (1853) and a Bridget Holroyd (1868) were recorded in New South Wales and a Samuel Holroyd died in Launceston in Tasmania 1846.The marriage of Mary A Holroyd was recorded at Paramatta NSW in 1827.
In approximate order of arrival in each Australian state they were:
New South Wales
Arthur Todd Holroyd.. was born in Leeds Yorkshire in 1807. He immigrated to Sydney Australia in 1845.After having been twice married in England he married again in Australia. He and his wife Elizabeth Armstrong had no children in Australia. Arthur Todd Holroyd was a prominent man in both England, where he was doctor and explorer and in Sydney where he was a NSW State Parliamentarian (Member Legislative Council)and a local government mayor. He had the honor of having Holroyd City Council named after him when it was formed by the amalgamation of two councils one of which he had served in as mayor.
He was a trustee of the Sydney Grammer School and this led to an association with the Jardine brothers who attended the school and later documented much of the northern Australian river systems in Queensland.The Holroyd river was named after Arthur Todd Holroyd.
He died in 1887. As his offspring in the UK was a daughter and there are no children in Australia, his Holroyd line is extinguished.
Michael Holroyd.. also arrived in Sydney in 1845 after emigrating from Halifax Yorkshire where he was born in 1822. He married Eliza Burnett in 1847.They had five sons and a daughter. On Eliza's death in 1876 he remarried. (Emma Kate Walton in 1878 and after her death Margaret Hobbs in 1888). There is no record of children from the second and third marriages. There is no record of family from any of the sons, three of whom died at a relatively young age. Michael Holroyd was a solicitor who established a successful law practice in King Street Newtown in Sydney and lived close by in Ashfield. It seems that this Holroyd line of this family has also been extinguished.
John Holroyd.. immigrated to New South Wales in 1855 and died in 1890. He and his family farmed in the Griffith area.
Ernest Silvester Holroyd.. was the son of Louise and Henry Holroyd and was born in New Plymouth, New Zealand. He came to Australia in about 1880. He had two sons Charles Ernst and Leonard Parks in 1886 and 1888. A blacksmith/coachbuilder, he resided in the Willoughby area of Sydney around 1896, living in Penshurst and Oakville Streets Willoughby. He moved to the Mosman where he resided in Parrawi Rd between 1925 and 1933 where he died in 1935. Leonard Parks Holroyd married in 1911 and had a daughter Patricia Holroyd in 1912.
Thomas Holroyd.. was born about 1828 in UK. After immigrating to Australia he established an engineering business in the inner suburbs of Sydney A resident of Riley Street East Sydney and later (about 1888) Little Norton Street Leichhardt, he died at Paddington 1916. He had a daughter Ellen and a son Charles W Holroyd born 1876.
Benjamin Holroyd.. was born in Soweby Yorkshire in 1820 and in about 1850 he and his wife Mary Agnes Driscoll and three children emigrated from Yorkshire to Tasmania where five more children were added to the family. Prominent among these was Percy Benjamin Holroyd who was born in Hobart Tasmania in 1868, and his sisters Ada, Matilda May, Helen Annie and Emily. Among Benjamin Percy's children was Charles Selwyn Holroyd who at the age of 92 died in Sydney (July 2003). He is survived by his two married daughters. The Holroyd line of this family has apparently been extinguished in Australia. In Yorkshire Holroyds from this line can be traced back to an Isaac Holroyd born in Barkisland and who died 1776. Subsequent family members resided at Chapel Farm (Barkisland) and Soweby. This family connects to the Cockroft Holroyds of the 15th and 16th century. There are living descendants of this line in England, USA, Canada and Australia.
Sir Edward Dundas Holroyd.. was the son of Edward Holroyd, senior commissioner of the London bankruptcy court, and grandson of Sir George Sowley Holroyd, an English judge, of whom there is an account in the Dictionary of National Biography. Holroyd was born on 25 January 1828. He was educated at Winchester College, where he won the medals for Latin and English essays, and in 1846 went to Trinity College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. in 1851, M.A. in 1854, and was called to the bar at Gray's Inn in June 1855.
He decided to go to Australia, and arrived in Melbourne in 1859 aboard the"Swiftsure". He made a great reputation as a barrister in equity and mining suits, became a Q.C. in 1879, and in 1881 became a judge of the supreme court of Victoria.
He married in 1862 Anna Maria Hoyles Compton, daughter of Henry Compton, and was survived by two sons and three daughters. He took little part in public discussions, except on the question of Federation. He was for some time president of the Imperial Federation League of Victoria. He was knighted in 1903.
William Holroyd.. was born in the UK and immigrated to Victoria Australia in 1854 aged 28 with his brother Issac aged 24 aboard the "Queen of the Seas". He married Anne Hill in 1856.They had two children, Eliza born 1857 who died in infancy and Thomas Edward born 1858. As there is no further record of Isaac it is assumed that he returned to the UK.Thomas Edward Holroyd was born in Collingwood Victoria in 1858 and married Annie Elizabeth Byford in Melbourne Victoria in 1881.They had four children Ernest Leo born 1882, Horace Leslie born 1883, Elsie May born 1886 and Alice Victoria born 1889.
Thomas Knowles Holroyd.. was born UK 1823 and immigrated to Victoria Australia with his wife Mary Jane Stubbs and two children George Frederick and Mary aboard the "Camtyne" in 1858. A third child Arthur Edward Holroyd was born in 1859 at Fryers Creek Victoria.
George William Holroyd.. was born in Victoria in 1893 the son of William George Holroyd born in the UK and was married to Selena Halsted. They had three children Frederick William, John and Norman and lived in Geelong.
Henry and Benjamin Holroyd.. brothers were born in Sheepscar Leeds Yorkshire in 1829 and 1834 and immigrated to South Australia. Henry resided at Ducks Pond station Port Lincoln.
Benjamin Holroyd was one of the pastoral pioneers of the area with extensive land holdings. He married Alice Haile. There were three children Ellen born 1858, Mabel born 1866 and Bertrum born 1874 and who died in 1883.
Henry died 1911 and Benjamin 1885.Further information about Benjamin can be found in Pastoral Pioneers of South Australia Vol 2.
Robert Holroyd.. immigrated to Queensland where he married Margaret Tucker in 1891.They had three children Kathleen Niven Holroyd born 1891, May Adelaide Holroyd born 1894 and Robert Henry Holroyd born 1902.
The earliest census records (United States Federal census 1790) indicated the presence of two (2) Holroyds and the number of Holroyds and the main variants of that surname stayed at about that number till about 1830. Between 1840 and 1850 the number had increased to 84 (1850 Census).
Emigration to the USA from the UK peaked in the years between between 1850 and 1880 and in the case of ‘Holroyds’ almost all came from the West Riding of Yorkshire and most sailed from the port of Liverpool to the east coast of USA. In 1840 there were concentrations of Holroyds in New York, New Jersey and Ohio States and by 1880 there were also significant populations in Illinois, Nebraska and Iowa.
By 1900 there were 431 Holroyds recorded in the US Federal census. In Canada the 1901 census recorded only 14 Holroyds. For comparison purposes the 1901 UK census recorded 4015 Holroyd surnames(Without variants). The variant Holroyde appeared occasionally, up until 1901 there never being more than three (3) and in the case of Canada one (1). The dropping of the “e” was a common practice in Yorkshire during the 19th century and that also occurred with other variants such as Holdroyde and Houlroyde.
Any contributions regarding Holroyds in USA and Canada would be greatly appreciated. If you can assist please contact Steve Holroyd. (See contributors for contact details)
PLEASE RECORD AN OUTLINE OF YOUR HOLROYD ANCESTERS.
HISTORICAL CONTRIBUTIONS ARE ALSO WELCOME.
SINCE THIS SITE COMMENCED THE CONTRIBUTORS TO THE SITE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PROVIDE MANY GUESTBOOK VISITORS WITH LINKS TO OTHER HOLROYD FAMILIES WITH COMMON ANCESTERS. IF YOU HAVE A LOST ANCESTER LET US KNOW.
Edited by Peter Holroyd