This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and was originally used in Scotland and northern England. The surname is derived from an occupational name for a sheep-shearer, or someone who used scissors to trim the surface of finished cloth and remove excessive nap. The name came from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "schere(n)", to shear, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "sceran"; the Middle English "schere" denoted shears and scissors of all sizes. The name development since 1231 (see below) includes the following: William le Scherer (1305, Hampshire); William Scherar (1324, Berwickshire); Eustace Schechare (1425, Scotland); and John Scaharrar (1587, Stirling).The modern surname can be found recorded as Shearer, Sheara, Sherar, Sherer, Sharer and Shirer. Recordings from Yorkshire Church Registers include: the marriage of James Shearer and Elizabeth Norcross on May 2nd 1727, at Giggleswick, and the marriage of George Shearer and Hanna Northouse on March 31st 1794, at St. Peter's, Leeds. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Sherer which was dated 1231, in the "Feet of Fines of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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