Sawer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Sawer is rooted in the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It is a name for someone who worked as a person who worked as the sawyer. [1] [2] This individual bought wood and cut it with his saw in order to sell it the towns people. Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames.

One source claims the name could have been Norman in origin as in "Radulphus de Sahurs, and the Ville of Sahurs, Normandy 1198." [3] While this entry is quite a bit later than the Norman Conquest, the presumption is that not all of the family accompanied the Conqueror in 1066.

Early Origins of the Sawer family

The surname Sawer was first found in various counties and shires throughout ancient Britain. The earliest record of the family was found in Berkshire where Nicholas le Sagyere was listed c. 1248. A few years later, Humfrey le Sayhare, le Sawyere, and Robert le Sawyere, le Saweare were both listed in the Assize Rolls of Somerset in 1270. [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 also listed some of the first entries for the family: Ralph le Sawiere in Huntingdonshire; and Geoffrey le Sawere in London. [2] Further to the north, Philip le Sagher was listed in the Yorkshire in 1324. [4]

By the 15th century, the name was frequented much further north in Scotland where Alexander Sawer was burgess of Glasgow in 1447 and Andrew Sauer was juror on inquest at Prestwick in 1470. "Thomas Sawar was friar preacher in St. Andrews, 1545." [5]

Early History of the Sawer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sawer research. Another 81 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1633, 1692, 1681, 1687, 1783, 1833 and 1812 are included under the topic Early Sawer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sawer Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Sawer are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Sawer include: Sawyer, Sawier, Sawer and others.

Early Notables of the Sawer family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Robert Sawyer, of Highclere (1633-1692), Attorney General for England and Wales (1681-1687) and Speaker of the English House of Commons; and Admiral Sir...
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sawer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Sawer migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Sawer or a variant listed above:

Sawer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Eliz Sawer, who landed in Virginia in 1656 [6]
  • Rich Sawer, who landed in Virginia in 1658 [6]
  • William Sawer, who arrived in Virginia in 1665 [6]
Sawer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Peter Sawer, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1796 [6]
  • John Sawer, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1796

Canada Sawer migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sawer Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Sawer Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Sawer, who settled in St. George's Harbour in 1830

New Zealand Sawer 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:

Sawer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr Sawer, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Aurora

Contemporary Notables of the name Sawer (post 1700) +

  • David Sawer (b. 1961), British composer of opera and choral, orchestral and chamber music


The Sawer 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: Cherches et tu trouveras
Motto Translation: Search and you will find.


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0


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