This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical surname found mainly in Cheshire and Worcestershire for someone who lived by a gap between hills, or by a cleft in rocks. The name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century word "sceard", gap, notch, a derivative of the verb "sceran", to cut, shear. A number of placenames are derived from the same term, such as "Shardlow" in Derbyshire, "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, Shord, Shoard and Sheards. One John Shord was christened on January 9th 1559 at Christchurch, Greyfriars, in London, and the marriage of Edward Shord and Jane Hodige was recorded at St. Thomas's, Dudley, in Worcestershire, on March 30th 1673. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William atte Sharde, which was dated 1275, in the Worcestershire Subsidy Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272-1307. 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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