Show ContentsWoodyard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Woodyard is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest in 1066. It is a name for a forester. Looking back even further, we found the name was originally derived from the Old English words wode, meaning wood, and ward, meaning guardian or keeper. 1

Another source claims the name was from 'a woodward,' a forest officer who looked after wood and vert. 2

Early Origins of the Woodyard family

The surname Woodyard was first found in Essex where Commander Wadard 3 was granted lands by King William for his assistance at the Battle of Hastings. The first recorded scion of the family, (Falaise Roll,p 112,) Commander Wadard assembled King William's army at Saint Valery in Normandy for the invasion of England. It was he, Wadard, who advised King William of the Saxon King Harold's approach from the north at Hastings. He is depicted on the famous Bayeux Tapestry on a foraging expedition. His portrait suggests that he held a senior rank. His descendents, Henry and Simon Wadard, were still Lords of their respective Manors in Essex in 1278.

Other early listings of the name include: Sewhal le wuderward who was in the Pipe Rolls of Hampshire in 1208; Ralph de (sic) Wodeward who was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Hertfordshire in 1230; and Robert Wodeward who was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. 1 The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Aylward le Wodeward in Oxfordshire; and Adam le Wodewarde in Somerset. 2

Early History of the Woodyard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woodyard research. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1086, 1290, 1490, 1590, 1640, 1657, 1675, 1698, 1712 and 1735 are included under the topic Early Woodyard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Woodyard Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Woodyard family name include Woodward, Woodard, Woodwards, Woodyard, Wadard and many more.

Early Notables of the Woodyard family

Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Woodyard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Woodyard Ranking

In the United States, the name Woodyard is the 9,481st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 4

United States Woodyard migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Woodyard family to immigrate North America:

Woodyard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Vincent Woodyard, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 5
  • Tho Woodyard, who landed in Virginia in 1654 5
  • Alice Woodyard, who arrived in Maryland in 1658-1663 5
Woodyard Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Lydia Woodyard, aged 49, who landed in America from Keswish, in 1904
  • William K. Woodyard, aged 17, who immigrated to America from Keswish, in 1904
  • Ruth Woodyard, aged 51, who settled in America from Suffolk, England, in 1908
  • Frederick Edward B. Woodyard, aged 1, who landed in America from Wohing, England, in 1909
  • Ada Selina Woodyard, aged 22, who settled in America from Wohing, England, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Woodyard (post 1700) +

  • John Robert Woodyard (1904-1981), American physicist
  • Terrence Woodyard (b. 1982), American professional basketball player
  • Mark Anthony Woodyard (b. 1978), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Harry Chapman Woodyard (1867-1929), American Republican politician from West Virginia 6
  • Wesley "The Lumberjack" Woodyard (b. 1986), American football linebacker for the Denver Broncos
  • Sam Woodyard (1925-1988), American jazz drummer
  • Alexander James Woodyard (b. 1992), English professional footballer

The Woodyard 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: Virtus semper viret
Motto Translation: Virtue is always flourishing.

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2012, May 22) . Retrieved from on Facebook