This interesting surname is one of the occupational names for a keeper of animals, generally cows or sheep. It maybe a short form of (shep)herd or it may simply be a metonymic. Hird, also spelt Herd and Hurd derives from the pre 7th Century Olde English 'hierde' meaning a herd or a flock. Other variants of this name include Heardman, Herdman, Hurdman, Herder, Herdson and many others. Early examples of the surname include Thomas Hord of Stafford in the year 1221, Reginald Le Herd of Somerset in 1243, and Richard Le Hurde of Sussex in the subsidy rolls of that county for 1296. Robert Herdsman is recorded in Colchester in 1367 and Nicholas Herder in Somerset slightly earlier in 1333. A Coat of Arms granted in London has the blazon of a silver field, a red chevron between three water bouchets in black. The crest is a demi goat saliant, attired gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Le Hird, which was dated circa 1189, Curia Rolls, 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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