Recorded as Wer, Werre, Wear and Weare, this is a surname of early Celtic or pre 8th century Anglo-Saxon origins. It has several possible sources, all in a sense residential. Firstly it may describe someone who lived by the northern English river called the "Wear". This is first recorded as the "Vedra" in Ptolemy's "Geographia", of the year 150 a.d., and derives from a Celtic word meaning simply "water". The second possible source is topographical and describes a person who lived by a dam or weir, or possibly as another option, worked there.If so it is probably an occupational surname for a keeper of the fishing-weir. Here the derivation is from the Olde English "waer or wer", meaning a weir. It may also be locational from the town of Ware in Hertfordshire. The surname itself first appears in records in the mid 13th Century (see below), and another early example is that of John atte Wer, recorded in the Subsidy Tax rolls of the county of Sussex in 1332. John Weare was the Master of the ship "Virgin of Southampton", which sailed from that port to the island of Barbados in 1639. Arms granted to a family of the name who lived at Hampton House, Hereford, has the blazon of a silver field charged with a green bend between six red crosses crosslet and three gold crosiers. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter de la Were. This was dated 1242, in the tax registers known as the "Feet of Fines of Herefordshire", during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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