Recorded in a number of spellings including Shead, Shed and Shedd, this is an English residential surname. It derives from the pre 7th century Olde English 'scaed' meaning a boundary marker, or the similar 'sceard', given as being a gap or cleft (in the hills). The name describes one who lived or more likely, came from such places. There does not seem to be any site in either name in the the gazetters unless it be for instance Chard in Somerset, nor is there a reference in the current medieval village lists, but as about ten percent of British and Irish surnames originate from places which have completely disappeared from all known maps, this is not in itself totally surprising. Residential surnames by their nature were often given to people after they left their place of origin and moved elsewhere. ' Elsewhere' could be the next village or the next county, but in either case the easiest way to identfy a 'stranger' in the small communities of the Middle Ages was to call him, or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best problematical and local dialects very thick, lead to the development of variant surname forms. In this case the earliest recording may be that of Adam atte Shard of Worcester in the year 1275, or possibly Hugo del Sherd of Cheshire in 1354. Later recordings taken from the surviving church registers of past times include: Robb Shedd, who was christened at the famous church of St Giles Cripplegate, city of London, on March 8th 1648, and his father George, who was recorded in the spellings of both Shed and Shedd. Another recording from the same period is that of Mary Shead, who on June 27th 1695 married George Warner at All Hallows church, London Wall.
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