Recorded as Mayward, Mayworth and Maywood, this is apparently an English surname. If so it is almost certainly locational, although we have not been able to find any evidence of a 'place' in any of the known surname spellings. The only places like it are Mayfield in Sussex, Mayland in Essex and Mayford in the county of Surrey. This village name is believed to originate from the Olde English pre 7th century words 'maegph-forda, meaning the shallow river crossing where mayweed grows. It is just possible, although we have absolutely no proof, that the surname first recorded in the 17th century and shown below as Mayward, was originally Mayweed. One thing is certain, it is known that at least three thousand surnames of the British Isles do originate from now 'lost' medieval villages, and this surname would seem to be another example. Locational surnames were usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people as easy identification, after they left their original homes, for whatever reason, to move somewhere else. Spelling over the centuries being at best indifferent, and local accents very thick, often lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings. Examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving church registers include Charles Mayward and his wife Sarah, at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on July 11th 1686, Martha Maywood who married James Wallbank, at St Botolophs Bisopgate, city of London, on November 21st 1819, and Robert Mayworth, at Christ Church Southwark, on January 14th 1877.
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