Sheweard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the name Sheweard are from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is 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 Sheweard family

The surname Sheweard 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]

"Two Siwards were of considerable note at the Conquest, one in Shropshire, the other in Cheshire." [5]

"Siward, surnamed Grossus, is more than once mentioned in Domesday, and was 'a great assistant to Earl Roger in the foundation of Salop Abbey.' According to Ordericus, he was a kinsman of the Earl's, and probably of Danish blood : " the name Siward is Danish rather than Saxon, and Earl Roger's great-grandmother was a Dane." He was consequently suffered to retain the manors in Shropshire that he had held under the Confessor, and bequeathed them to his son Aldred." [5]

"The other Siward was one of the 'Barones et Homines' enumerated by Hugh Lupus in his charter to Chester Abbey, and the ancestor of the Lancelyns, seated at Poulton-Lancelyn in that county till the reign of Henry VIII. A Seward was among the twelve knights who, under William Rufus, went with Robert Fitz-Hamon to the conquest of Glamorgan, and formed the " Douze Peres" between whom he divided his newly-won territory. The Devonshire family of Seward of Stokeinteignhead probably derived from him: and Banks believes him to have been also the progenitor of the Sywards of Winterborn-Clinston, in Dorsetshire." [5]

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.

And further north in Scotland, Richard Suwart (Siward) "was a Scottish knight, [who was] married to a sister of Simon Fresel, who, having more than once shifted his allegiance, was at that time serving in the English army. Edward II. appointed him Constable of Dumfries in 1309, and he is supposed to have died in the following year." [5]

Early History of the Sheweard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sheweard research. Another 178 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1053, 1236, 1248, 1641, 1658, 1701, 1657 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Sheweard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sheweard 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 Sheweard family name include Seward, Sewerd, Saward and others.

Early Notables of the Sheweard family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Sheweard family to Ireland

Some of the Sheweard 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.

Migration of the Sheweard family

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. Early immigrants bearing the Sheweard surname or a spelling variation of the name include: John Seward settled in Virginia in 1622; James Seward settled in Virginia in1655; Martin Seward arrived in Barbados in 1690; William Seward settled in Barbados in 1654 and later moved to the mainland..



  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.
  5. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3


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