Chapter 13
“Earliest” Hellyers

Alfred Hellyer [H.1], my mother’s paternal grandfather, was the first of “our” Hellyers in New Zealand. He was born in London, December 11, 1841 at, as his birth certificate shows, “Faith Cottage” in South Lambeth, the son of Henry William Hellyer and Johanna Hellyer, born Johanna Brocklebank [H.1]. The birth certificate gives Henry Hellyer’s occupation as ironmonger and place of residence as 28 Great Marlborough Street. Great Marlborough Street, counter to its name, is a small street off Regent Street near its Oxford Street end. Whether Henry owned an ironmongery at this address and lived over it, or whether he was an employee working at some other address I do not know.

Alfred seems to have been an only child. At any rate there is no record of siblings in the St Catherine’s register of births back to its beginning in mid-1837. The Mormon IGI records Henry and Johanna Hellyer as marrying at Christchurch Greyfriars, Newgate, London on November 2, 1831 [H.1]. I know nothing of Henry Hellyer’s forebears, nor of Johanna Brocklebank’s; but should add that I have not attempted any searches of parish registers.

Hellyer is one of a number of variations on the surname Hellier or more truly Hillier, which is an old English occupational surname meaning roofer, tiler or slater. It seems to be especially common in the southwest of England, although by the mid-19th century it is not uncommon in the London area. Both Hellier and Hellyer occur fairly often in the New Zealand Index of Births, Deaths and Marriages, even back to the earliest days of registration. Most of them are unconnected with “our” Hellyers.