This rare and unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, and is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of qualities, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress. In this instance the nickname is for a swift runner, deriving from the Middle English "schere(n)", to shear, cut, and "wind", wind. The German surname "Schneidewin(d)" (cut wind) provides a semantic parallel. The English surname is sometimes translated in medieval sources into the Anglo-Norman French form "Tranchevent". John Sherwyn is noted in the 1524 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. In the modern idiom the name can be found as Sherwin, Sherwen, Sherrin, Sherwyn, Sheryne and Sheryn. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Edward, son of Humphrey Sherwyn, on October 20th 1588, at St. James', Clerkenwell, London; the christening of Jane, daughter of Thomas Sheryne, on December 5th 1613, at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London; and the marriage of Edward Sherwyn and Mary Greggs on December 23rd 1656, at St. Nicholas', Rochester, Kent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Scherewind, which was dated 1187, in the "Pipe Rolls of Cumberland", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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