Last name: Seward

This uncommon and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and represents the rare survival of two originally distinct Olde English pre 7th Century personal names, "Saeweard" and "Sigeweard". Very few native Anglo-Saxon given names survived for long after the Norman Conquest of 1066, when a large number of Continental names were introduced and subsequently used from choice or expediency. The Olde English names are composed of the elements "sae", sea, and "sige", victory, with "weard", guard, protect; they are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Sauuard, Seuuard, Seuuart" and "Siuuard" respectively, although by the early Middle Ages the names had become confused. The popular Middle English forms were Seward and Siward, recorded as "Sewarde" in the Norfolk Hundred Rolls of 1275. Early examples of the surname include: Richard Seward (1275, Shropshire); Richard Syward (1260, Cambridgeshire); and William Saywart (1385, Cheshire). The modern surname forms include Seward(s), Sewart, Seaward, Saward and Sayward, and among the recordings of the name in Church Registers are those of the marriages of John Saward and Elianora Kynge at Thaxted in Essex, on October 20th 1547, and of William Saward and Elizabeth Coxon, on April 12th 1596, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family name depicts three blue boars' heads bendways in bend on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Siward or Suard, which was dated 1235, in the "Book of Fees of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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