Show ContentsHerd History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Herd surname lie with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name Herd began when someone in that family worked as a herdsman. The surname Herd is derived from the Old English word herde, which in turn comes from the Old English word heird, which means herd. [1]

Early Origins of the Herd family

The surname Herd was first found in Shropshire where Thomas Hord was listed in the Assize Rolls of 1221. Years later, Reginald le Herd was found in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1243 and Richard le Hurde was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include: Robert le Hirde, Suffolk; Richard le Herde, Cambridgeshire; and David le Hyrde, Norfolk. [1]

One entry was found in Somerset in early times, that of William le Hurde, 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [3]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Alanus Hyrd; Nicholans Hyrd; and Johannes Hird as all holding lands there at that time. [1]

"An old family of Hird once resided at Woodhouse Grove, Rawdon, in the West Riding [of Yorkshire]." [4]

Moving further north to Scotland, Hird was the Scottish pronunciation of 'herd', a herdsman. [5] Early records show "W. dictus Hyrd was actomatus (attorney) of Bernard, abbot of Aberbrothoc in 1328. John Hird was a tenant of the Douglas in Louchurde in 1376." [5]

Early History of the Herd family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Herd research. Another 192 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1511, 1512, 1529, 1532, 1534, 1546, 1588, 1605, 1610, 1619, 1626, 1627, 1720, 1732, 1808 and 1810 are included under the topic Early Herd History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Herd Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Herd has appeared include Herd, Heard, Hird, Hurd and others.

Early Notables of the Herd family

Notables of this surname at this time include:

  • John Herd (1512?-1588), English historian, born about 1512 'in that part of Surrey which adjoins the city of London.' After being educated at Eton, he was admitted a scholar of King's College, Cambrid...
  • David Herd (1732-1810), was a Scottish collector of Scottish ballads, the son of John Herd, farmer, of Balmakelly, in the parish of Marykirk, Kincardineshire, where he was born in 1732. [6]

Herd Ranking

In the United States, the name Herd is the 5,583rd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [7]

Australia Herd migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Herd Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Peter Herd, English convict who was convicted in Preston, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 1st January 1850, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia [8]
  • Isabella Herd, aged 35, a needlewoman, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas" [9]
  • James Herd, aged 23, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Marion" [10]

New Zealand Herd migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Herd Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Alfred Herd, aged 32, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Mary Herd, aged 26, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • George Herd, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859 [11]
  • Mr. George Herd, British settler travelling from Liverpool aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 19th October 1859 [12]
  • Mr. Joseph Herd, (b. 1847), aged 13, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Gananoque" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 9th May 1860 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Herd (post 1700) +

  • Richard Herd Jr. (1932-2020), American actor, known for (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977), F.I.S.T. (1978), The China Syndrome (1979), The Onion Field (1979)), The Rockford Files (1974), The Streets of San Francisco (1972) and many more
  • Harold Shields Herd (1918-2007), Kansas Supreme Court justice
  • Jim Herd (b. 1939), former American professional wrestling executive
  • Johnathan James Herd (b. 1989), English footballer
  • Robin Herd (b. 1939), English engineer, designer and businessman
  • Benjamin Alexander Herd (b. 1985), English footballer
  • Mr. Joseph Herd M.B.E., British Social Justice Manager for St Luke’s High School, Barrhead, was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to Community Cohesion, to Education and to charity in East Renfrewshire [13]
  • David George Herd (1934-2016), Scottish international footballer
  • David Herd (1732-1810), Scottish anthologist who was a noted collector of national ballads
  • Fred Herd (1874-1954), Scottish professional golfer
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Herd Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Recte et sapienter
Motto Translation: Rightly and wisely.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  4. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from
  9. South Australian Register Monday 26th December 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Epaminondas 1853. Retrieved
  10. South Australian Register Tuesday 12th December 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Marion 1854. Retrieved
  11. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 5th November 2010). Retrieved from
  12. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  13. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, on Facebook