Recorded in several forms including Gard, Gerd, Geard, Guard,Jerd, and Jerde, this is an English surname. It is or rather was, an occupational surname for a watchman or guard. Derived from the pre 9th century old French word "garde", meaning to watch, or protect, it was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. From there on it was used interchangeably with the Old English pre 7th Century "ward" of the same meaning, both words being ultimately derived from a Germanic word "weard". Early examples of the surname recordings include John le Gard in the 1275 rolls of the city of Worcester, whilst William la Garde is recorded in the 1309 rolls of Bedford. The later name development taken from the London civil lists, includes such examples as Agnis Gart in 1608, Edmund Geyard in 1622, Anne Gard in 1642, and Hannah Guerd in 1787. Examples taken from the church registers include John Guard who married Mary Morgan at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on May 5th 1642, whilst the christening is recorded of George Geard, son of John and Rebecca Geard, at St. Mary Woolnoth, London, on the 27th April 1684. The coat of arms, granted in Kent, has the blazon of a blue field charged with a silver chevron, and thereon three green birds. On a gold chief three black griffins segreant. The surname was one of the first into the new colonies of the West Indies, when on April 6th 1678, Elizabeth, the daughter of Peregrine Guard, was baptised at Christ Church, Barbados. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard le Gard, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", 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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