This most interesting and unusual surname, found chiefly in Devon and Cornwall, may have derived from three possible origins. Firstly, it may be a metonymic occupational name for an armourer, from the Olde English "sweord", Middle English "swerd, sword", a sword. Alternatively it may be a topographical name for one resident by the "Sawdde" river, a tributary of the river Towy which flows into Carmarthen, in Wales. The more likely explanation though is that it is a Cornish "oath name", from the Old French "sauf", save and either the Olde English "daei", Middle English "daye", day, that is "save the day", or the Old French "dieu", God, meaning "God save us". The surname is first recorded in Devon in the mid 16th Century (see below), while one Elizabeth Sawdye married William Dobell in November 1560 at Morval in Cornwall. Robert Sawdye married Jone Vinson also at Morval on October 26th 1578, and Anne Sawdaie, daughter of George Sawdaie, was christened on April 6th 1610 at St. James', Clerkenwell, London. Margery Sawdy married John Robyns at Morval on February 9th 1618. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Sawdy, which was dated November 23rd 1551, marriage to Elnor Mawry, at Hennock, Devon, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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