Cowhard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cowhard is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a name for a tender of cattle. The name is an adaptation of the Old English word cuhyrde, of the same meaning. It derives from the roots, cu, meaning cow, and hierde, meaning herdsman. [1]

"Although the popular derivation of this opprobrious word from 'cow-herd' (whose occupation would be regarded with some disdain by the chivalrous in the Middle Ages) is untenable, I think it quite probable that the surname may be from that source, like Shepherd, Hayward, and other similar names." [2]

With due regard to the these sources, we must revisit the Norman origin for a moment. In this case, the name was "from La Couarde, near Rochelle. Radulphus de Coarda occurs in Normandy 1198. " [3]

Early Origins of the Cowhard family

The surname Cowhard was first found in Lancashire "in the Furness district." [4] Now part of Cumbria in northwestern England, this peninsula also known as Low Furness, an area of villages, agricultural land and low-lying moorland.

Searching through early rolls, we found Thomas le Cuherde was listed in Essex in 1255 and a few years later the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed William le Kukerde, Cambridgeshire; and John Kuhirde, Huntingdonshire. Over in Cumberland, the Placita de Quo Warranto, temp. Edward I-III listed John le Kuhyrde, 20 Edward I and Richard le Kuhyrde (both in the twentieth year of King Edward I's reign.)

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had two listings for the family: Cecilia Cowehird, laborer; and Robertus Cowehyrde. [4]

The famed English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, Noel Coward (1899-1973) hailed from Teddington, Middlesex, a south-western suburb of London.

Early History of the Cowhard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cowhard research. Another 123 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1622, 1637, 1663, 1657, 1725, 1656, 1657, 1674, 1675, 1677, 1679, 1680, 1738 and 1735 are included under the topic Early Cowhard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cowhard Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Cowhard were recorded, including Coward, Cowerd and others.

Early Notables of the Cowhard family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Coward (1657?-1725), English physician, born at Winchester in 1656 or 1657. "His mother was sister of Dr. John Lamphire, principal of Hart Hall, Oxford, and Camden professor of history, whose property he apparently inherited (Hearne, Collections, i. 248). In May 1674 Coward was admitted as a commoner of Hart Hall; and in 1675 a scholar of Wadham College. He proceeded B.A. in 1677, and in January 1679-1680 was elected fellow of Merton. " [5] Another William Coward (d. 1738), was "a London merchant, famous for his liberality to dissent, possessed large property, including...
Another 157 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cowhard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Cowhard family

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Cowhard arrived in North America very early: John and Joanne Coward who settled in Virginia in 1654; James Coward settled in Maryland in 1774; Thomas Coward settled in Baltimore Maryland in 1823..



  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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