Show ContentsShepheard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Shepheard is from the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name was given to a person who was a person who worked as a shepherd, the guardian of the sheep. [1] [2]

Occupational names that were derived from the common trades of the medieval era transcended European cultural and linguistic boundaries. 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. In this case the surname was originally derived from the Old English word sceap, meaning sheep and hierde meaning herdsman. While this traditional understand of the surname's meaning is in many ways self explanatory today, in examining the Coat of Arms invariably we find battle axes. This is not surprising as the ancient shepherds were employed to dig sod around the embattlements of a Saxon village as a means of defense, hence the term "the shepherd's ring." Their tools were battle axes.

Early Origins of the Shepheard family

The surname Shepheard was first found in the Southern counties of England, where they could be found from early times. Early recorded instances of the name include William Sepherd listed in Rotuli Hundredorum, in Oxfordshire in 1279. [3] The same rolls listed Margaret le Sephirde in Huntingdonshire and Walter le Schepherde in Cambridgeshire. [4]

Henry Sephurde was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex of 1296 while Walter le Shepperde was listed in the Feet of Fines of Staffordshire in 1307. [3]

Later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed William Shephirde; and Johannes Schephirde. [4]

Early History of the Shepheard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shepheard research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1307, 1317, 1327, 1399, 1413, 1515, 1559, 1605, 1649, 1635, 1648, 1720, 1634, 1698 and are included under the topic Early Shepheard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Shepheard Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Shepheard family name include Shepherd, Shephard, Sheppard, Sheppeard, Shepperd and others.

Early Notables of the Shepheard family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Shepherd, alias Thwattes, of Derbyshire, who were a noble family during the reign of Henry IV (ruled 1399-1413); John Sheppard (c.1515-1559) English composer & organist, considered one of the finest English church composers of the Tudor era; Thomas Shepard (1605-1649), born in Towcester...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shepheard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Shepheard family to Ireland

Some of the Shepheard family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 65 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Shepheard migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Shepheard or a variant listed above:

Shepheard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Humfrey Shepheard, aged 32, who arrived in New England in 1635 from Weymouth, England possible boat is Mary Gould [5]
  • Ralph Shepheard, who landed in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1635 [5]
  • Hester Shepheard, who settled in New England in 1660
Shepheard Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Cha Shepheard, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [5]
  • Henry Shepheard, who arrived in Leeward Islands in 1739 [5]

Australia Shepheard migration to Australia +

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

Shepheard Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
Shepheard Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Shepheard, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 10th August 1838, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Mr. Thomas Shepheard, English convict who was convicted in Plymouth, Devon, England for 7 years, transported aboard the ""Blenheim"" on 24th July 1850, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) and Norfolk Island, Australia [8]

The Shepheard 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: Fide et virtute
Motto Translation: By fidelity and valour.

  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. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-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. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th September 2020). Retrieved from
  7. Convict Records of Australia. Retrieved 23rd August 2020 from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from on Facebook