This English surname is not uncommon in Ireland, although it is found mainly in Ulster, where it was taken by settlers. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. HOLMES was a locational name ' the dweller at the holme ' an islet on flat land beside a river. The name is known to every mediaeval records throughout England. The name was derived from the Old English word HOLEN. Early records of the name mention Roger de Holm, who was documented in the year 1186, County Leicestershire. Goscelin de Holme, 1273 County Suffolk. William de Holmes of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Robert Cooke married Johanna Holmes, in London in the year of 1574. Baptised. Alice Holmes, St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1615. There are lands named Holmes in the barony of Inchestuir, Scotland, and Johannes Holmys, who was a charter witness in Ayr in the year 1460, doubtless derived his name from the lands of Holmes near Dundonald, Kyle Stewart, Scotland.
James Hoomes in 1668, was warned and cautioned not to harm the inhabitants of Inverness, presumably he was a difficult neighbour!. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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