Sowerd History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Sowerd name is an important part of the history of the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Sowerd 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. 
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. " 
Siward (died 1075) was Bishop of Rochester, Abbot of Chertsey in Surrey, and was consecrated Bshop of Rochester by Archbishop Stigand in 1058. 
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." 
Early Origins of the Sowerd family
The surname Sowerd 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.  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. 
"Two Siwards were of considerable note at the Conquest, one in Shropshire, the other in Cheshire." 
"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." 
"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." 
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." 
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." 
Early History of the Sowerd family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sowerd 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 Sowerd History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Sowerd Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Sowerd were recorded, including Seward, Sewerd, Saward and others.
Early Notables of the Sowerd family (pre 1700)
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sowerd Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Sowerd family to Ireland
Some of the Sowerd 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 Sowerd family
To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Sowerd family emigrate to North America: 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..
Related Stories +
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ 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