Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an English surname of Norman-French origins. Introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, it was a status name which signified a young man of good birth, who attended upon a knight, as his shield-bearer and general assistant. The derivation is from the pre 7th century Old French word "escuier", in Middle English "squyer", both ultimately from the Latin "scutanius", a derivative of "scutum", meaning shield. By the 14th Century the term as squire, meant not only any young attendant or servant but had been generalised into referring to social status rather than age, and by the 17th century the term denoted any member of the landed gentry. Spellings of the surname include Squire, Squier, Squair, Swire and Swyer, while the patronymic forms include Squires, Squiers, Squeers, Swires, and Swiers. Early examples of recordings include on June 1st 1567, Robert, the son of Robert Squire, who was christened at St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, whilst a coat of arms granted to the family has the blazon of a black shield charged with three gold swans' heads erased, within a silver border, the Crest being a bear's paw erect holding a plume of three ostrich feathers all proper. The Motto "Tiens firme" translates as "Hold firm". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alword le Scuir. This was dated 1100 - 1130, in the "Old English Bynames" list for Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry 1st, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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