This most interesting surname may derive from two possible origins, one French and the other Anglo-Saxon. Firstly, it may be a nickname for a particularly cheerful or hospitable person, from the Old French "chiere", Anglo-French "chere", Middle English "chere", face. Secondly, it may be a variant spelling of the English surname "Shear", which was a nickname for a beautiful, radiant person or one with fair hair, from the Olde English "scir", Middle English "scher, schir", bright, fair. The surname first appears in the late 12th Century (see below), and one Reginald le Scher was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire in 1327. Other early examples of the surname include the christening of Elizabeth Chere on February 20th 1563 at St. Mary's, Whitechapel, London, while one Leonarde, son of Thomas Cheare, was christened on August 14th 1580 at St. Giles', Cripplegate, London, and Mary Cheer married Ralph Chonn on September 20th 1703, also at St. Giles. A Coat of Arms was granted to a Cheere family in Westminster on July 30th 1766 which depicts a shield divided quarterly erminois and red and over all a gold label of five points. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Leschir, which was dated 1193, in the "Pipe Rolls of Berkshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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