Recorded in several forms as shown be;low, this is an early English surname. It is residential, and was originally recorded mainly in Cheshire and Worcestershire. It describes someone who lived by a gap between hills from the Old English pre 7th century word "sceard". A number of placenames are derived from the same term including Shardlow in Derbyshire, meaning "notched hill", Sharston in Cheshire, "notched stone", and "Scarcliff" also in Derbyshire, "cliff with a scar or gap". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing surnames in the small communities of medieval England. The modern surname from this source can be found as Shard, Sheard, Shearde, Sherd, Shord, Shoard, Sheards, Shuard, Shurd, and possibly others. Early examples of recordings taken from surviving church registers include John Shord who was christened on January 9th 1559 at Christchurch, Greyfriars, in the city of London, the marriage of Edward Sheard and Jane Hodige at St. Thomas's Dudley, in Worcestershire, on March 30th 1673, and Francis Shuard, a christening witness at St Giles Cripplegate, city of London, on February 14th 1751. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William atte Sharde. This was dated 1275, in the Worcestershire Subsidy Tax Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272-1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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