This unusual and long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from the parish of Chard near Taunton, in Somerset. Recorded as "Cerdren" in manuscripts held at Wells, Somerset, dated 1065; as "Cerdre" in the Domesday Book of 1086; and as "Cerda" in the 1166 Red Book of the Exchequer, the place was so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ceart", a rough heathland overrun with gorse, with the change of "rt" to "rd", and "renn", a side-form of the Olde English "aern", house, especially "storehouse". The final "n" and second "r" of "Cerdren" were lost at an early stage due to dialectal influences. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. On November 29th 1548, Nicholas, son of George Chard, was christened at Shobrooke, Devon. Notable namebearers were George William Chard, organist of Winchester Cathedral, 1802 - 1849, and John Rouse Merriott Chard (1847 - 1897), colonel of the royal engineers. A Coat of Arms granted to the Chard family is described thus: "Argent, on a chevron azure between two partridges proper, in chief and in base a greyhound courant sable, a garb between two buglehorns stringed gold", the Crest being a silver eagle rising, the dexter claw resting on an azure escutcheon, and holding in the beak an oak branch slipped proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Chard, which was dated 1327, in "Medieval Records of Somerset", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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