This very interesting surname is of Norman-French origins. It was introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066 as a "status name". At first it signifed a young man of good birth, who was attendant on a knight, being his shield-bearer. The derivation is from the Old French "escuier", in Middle English this became "squyer", both ultimately from the Roman (Latin) "scutum", meaning a shield. By the 14th Century the name had become anglicized to Squire or Squeer, and the northern forms of Swire, Swier, and Swyer, with the patronymic 'son of' being denoted by a single suffix of 's'.By the 17th Century the word and hence the name had become a term for the local lord of the manor, or any member of the landed gentry. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from the surviving rolls and registers include: Roger le Esquier of Essex in 1228, Geoffrey le Swyer of Nottingham in the year 1275, and John Swyer in the rolls of the city of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1297. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Alword le Scuir, which was dated 1100 - 1130, in the list known as the "Old English Bynames" for Devonshire. This was during the reign of King Henry 1st of England, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135.
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