This unusual and interesting surname may be of either Old French or Anglo-Saxon origin. If the former, the derivation is from the Old French "chiere", Anglo-French and Middle English "chere", face or facial expression, usually qualified as "good" or "glad". The surname from this source would therefore have originated as a nickname for a cheerful, pleasant person. Nicknames were originally given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and mental or moral characteristics, and gave rise to a sizeable group of early European surnames.If the latter, the derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "scir", Middle English "scher, schir", bright, fair, originally denoting a beautiful or radiant person, or one with fair hair. One Reginald le Scher was noted in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire. In the modern idiom the surname has a number of variant spellings ranging from Cheire, Chier and Chear(s), to Shiers, Shear and Cheer(s). On February 20th 1563 Elizabeth Chere, an infant, was christened at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London, and on August 31st 1802 Ann Cheers and George Mathers were married at St. Nicholas, Liverpool, Lancashire. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is divided quarterly erminois and red, over all an azure label of five points, the Crest being a talbot passant azure, collared and ringed gold. 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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