Saywood History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

It was among those Anglo-Saxon tribes that once ruled over Britain that the name Saywood was formed. The name was derived from the baptismal name Siward, which was an Old English personal name. Accordingly, there are numerous early listings of the name as a personal name. [1]

Siward (died 1048), was Bishop and Coadjutor-Archbishop, a monk of Glastonbury, and succeeded Aehelwine as Abott of Abingdon probably in 1030.

Siward,Earl of Northumberland (d. 1055), called Digera or 'The Strong', was a Dane, and "is said to have been the son of a Danish Jarl (chief) named Biorn. According to legend he was descended from a white bear and a lady. Fitting out a ship, he is said to have sailed to Orkney, where he overcame a dragon, went thence to Northumbria, and, in obedience to a supernatural command, to London, where he entered the service of King Edward the Confessor. " [2]

Siward (died 1075) was Bishop of Rochester, Abbot of Chertsey in Surrey, and was consecrated Bshop of Rochester by Archbishop Stigand in 1058. [2]

Another source claims the name was an occupational name as in "high admiral, who kept the sea against pirates, from sea, and ward, a keeper." [3]

Early Origins of the Saywood family

The surname Saywood was first found in Essex where the family probably originated in Sewardstone, a hamlet, in the parish of Waltham-Abbey, union of Edmonton, hundred of Waltham. [4] Alternatively, the name could have originated in Sewardesley, in Northamptonshire. Little remains of this latter location other than Sewardsley Priory, which was a Priory occupied by Cistercian nuns and was located in Showsley near Towcester. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had some of the first listings of the name. There was a mixture of both personal names and surnames there including: "Sygwat Kat'bode in Norfolk; Syward and Sywardus (without surnames) in Oxfordshire; Thomas Swyat in Suffolk; and Richard Swyard in Buckinghamshire." [1]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Hugo Syward and Johanna Swyard.

Early History of the Saywood family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Saywood research. Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1053, 1641, 1658, 1701, 1657 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Saywood History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Saywood Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Saywood include Seward, Sewerd, Saward and others.

Early Notables of the Saywood family (pre 1700)

Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Saywood Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Saywood family to Ireland

Some of the Saywood family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 46 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Canada Saywood migration to Canada +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Saywood were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Saywood Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • W F Saywood, who arrived in Victoria, British Columbia in 1862


  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. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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