This picturesque and unusual name is of English and Anglo-Saxon origins. It is believed to have been a locational surname, although there are other possibilities, from a "lost" medieval village, which is thought to have been situated somewhere on the River Stour, south-west of the town of Shaftsbury, in the county of Dorset. This is a theory supported by the prevalence of the surname recordings in that area. An early example was the marriage of George Metyard and Ann Greene on February 8th 1677 at East Stour, and the christening of Charles Meatyard on September 23rd 1795 at Stour Provost. It is estimated that over three thousand such places have disappeared from British maps since the 12th Century, due to a variety of circumstances including enforced land clearance to make way for sheep pasture, the various vicious plagues which swept the country in the Middle Ages, and sometimes even war. The derivation of the name is probably nothing to do with "meat", but is from the pre 7th century Olde English word "moed", meaning a meadow, with "geard", a fenced enclosure. Another alternative is from the word "metgeard", which means a measuring stick, and as such a nickname for a draper, as in the biblical quotation "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgement, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure". Lev. X1X. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of John Meatyarde. This was dated 1618, at the village of Broad Chalke, in Wiltshire. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017