Swires History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Swires arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Swires family lived at Swyre in Dorset. The surname Swires was originally derived from the Old English word "swoera" which means a "neck of land" or in other words, one who lives at the neck of land. [1]

Today Swyre is a coastal parish in Dorset, 6 miles south-east from Bridport [2] and dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Suere. [3]

Interestingly, the Index of the Calendar of the Patent Rolls (1446-1452) Henry VI v.5. notes that Swyer was a variant of Squyer and further notes in the May 22 entry for Westminster 'gentilman' alias 'squyer,' so one could presume that the name was as many believe an early from the word 'squire' or 'gentleman.'

Furthermore, the same source notes that on November 13th in 1449, John Squyer of Notyngham (Nottingham) appeared before the court "and his fellows by the name John Swyer to answer..." questions about his debt to Alexander Galyard. The same source notes at least four more entries for the Squyer spelling.

Early Origins of the Swires family

The surname Swires was first found in Dorset at Swyre where they were descended from William d'Eu, Count of Eu, who was undertenant in Wiltshire and held the lands of Swyre (Latin: Tempore Regis Edwardi, English: during the reign of King Edward the Confessor) before the Norman Conquest in 1066. William of Swyre held those lands in 1086 at the taking of the Domesday Survey. [3]

Other early records include Geoffrey le Swyer who was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of Nottinghamshire in 1275 and John Swyer who was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire in 1297. [4]

Years later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax records of 1379 listed: Ricardus Sqwyer; Thomas Swyer and Willelmus Swyer. [5]

Early History of the Swires family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Swires research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1706, 1523, 1533 and 1825 are included under the topic Early Swires History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Swires Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Swyre, Svere, Swyer, Swyre, Swire, Squyer and others.

Early Notables of the Swires family (pre 1700)

Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swires Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Swires family

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Swires or a variant listed above: Swyer from Somerset, England, who settled at Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, in the 18th century; William Swiers and Bennett Swyer settled at Sandy Point, Newfoundland in 1871.



The Swires 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: Esse quam videri
Motto Translation: To be, rather than to seem.


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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