This interesting and unusual name, with variant spellings Shird and Shard, is either of Northern English locational origin from Sherd, a place in the parish of Stockport, Cheshire, or of Saithern English topographical origin from residence by a detached piece of land. The derivation in the first instance is from the Northern Medieval English "Shard" from the Old Norse "Skarth", a gap or mountain pass, and in the second instance from the Old English pre 7th Century "scyrte", "a piece cut off". One John atte Shurte, noted in the 1296, "Subsidy Rolls of Sussex", is among the earliest recorded namebearers from the latter source. The Cheshire Wills Records note several from the former source including William del Sherd, an archer of the Crown, East Cheshire, (1398); William Sherd, of Sherd, (1473); Jeffrey Shirt, of Stanley, (1593), and Thomas Shirt, a preacher from Chester, (1618). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godwin de la Sirte, which was dated 1179, in the Pipe Rolls of Surrey, 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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