Cowherd History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cowherd is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with 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 Cowherd family

The surname Cowherd 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 Cowherd family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cowherd 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 Cowherd History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cowherd Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Coward, Cowerd and others.

Early Notables of the Cowherd 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 Cowherd Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cowherd Ranking

In the United States, the name Cowherd is the 18,754th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]


United States Cowherd migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Cowherd or a variant listed above:

Cowherd Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Cowherd, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cowherd (post 1700) +

  • William Strother Cowherd (1860-1915), American Democratic Party politician, Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, 1892; U.S. Representative from Missouri 5th District, 1897-1905; Candidate for Governor of Missouri, 1908 [8]
  • William Cowherd (1763-1816), English sect-founder, born at Carnforth, Lancashire [9]


  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
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020


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