Swyre History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Swyre came to England with the ancestors of the Swyre family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Swyre family lived at Swyre in Dorset. The surname Swyre 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 Swyre family

The surname Swyre 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 Swyre family

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

Swyre Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Swyre, Svere, Swyer, Swyre, Swire, Squyer and others.

Early Notables of the Swyre family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Swyre family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Swyre 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 Swyre 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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