Recorded in a number of spelling forms including Byars, Byers, Byre, Byres, Bier, Biers, and the rare Buyers, this is an English residential or occupational surname, and one associated with the pre 7th century Danish Viking invaders. It derives from the Danish word "byr" meaning a cattle barn or dairy and is one of a group of surnames which originate from working on a farm. These include Bull, Heffer, Stott, and Palfrey, and all relate to the keeping of livestock, a prime agricultural function of the medieval period. Perhaps not surprisingly given the importance of the occupation, this is one of the earliest of all recorded hereditary surnames, nor that it was in the then cattle breeding regions of East Anglia and the West Country, where the surname was most prevalent. There is also a possibility that in some cases the surname may have descended from an Olde English personal name "Bye", of unproven meaning. This is suggested by the recording of Thomas filius Bye of Cambridge, in the Hundred Rolls of the year 1279. Other early examples of the name recording include John Attebeyre also in the same Hundred Rolls of Cambridge, John Buyres of Somerset in the Subsidy Tax rolls of 1327, and Grace Buyers who married Arther Wrothwell at the church of St Martin Pomeroy in the city of London, on December 12th 1625. The famous portrait painter Nicholas Byer, who died in 1681, was actually born in Norway, although possibly of English parents. The first known recording is believed to be that of Elias de la Byare of Devonshire in the year 1275. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 -1307.