This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a nickname deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "scir", fair, bright, with the Anglo-Norman French intensive suffix "-ard". The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics, as in this instance "the fair haired one", or "the bright one". The surname is first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below), and has many variant spellings ranging from Sherratt, Sheret, Sherrard and Sherrott to Charrit, Charet and Charret(t).On October 31st 1630, Frances, daughter of Thomas Charret, was christened at St. Luke's, Chelsea, and Edward Charett married Dorcas Matthews on September 23rd 1653, at Bentley, Hampshire, In some instances the surname may be of Old French origin, introduced into England by the Huguenots, deriving from the Old French "charrette", a cart. This may have been acquired as a metonymic occupational name for a user or maker of carts, or perhaps as a nickname for someone who owned a wheeled vehicle in an area where asses or mules were the usual means of transport. During the mid to late 17th Century, thousands of French Huguenots fled to England and other countries to escape religious persecution on the Continent, especially after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis X1V in 1685. In May 1746, Jacques, son of Jacques and Marie Charret, was christened at the French Huguenot Church, Spitalfields, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Shirard, which was dated 1298, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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