Recorded as Swinerd, Swinnard and Swinyard, this is an English surname. It can either topographical for a person who lived at a "swingeard", an Olde English pre 7th century description for area of ground fenced off for the keeping of cattle, or it can be occupational and refer to a keeper of cattle from the Olde English word "swinhyrde". Occupational surnames were amongst the first to be given, although they usually did not become hereditary unless a son or perhaps a grandson, followed in the fathers footsteps, and in effect created a "family" business. Not surprisingly given the importance of the occupation in medieval times, when the supplies of fresh meat were paramount to survival, this surname is one of the first to be recorded, although whether the recordings shown below are hereditary is uncertain, as the county rolls which would and should have followed on, have been lost. These early recordings include examples such as Walter le Swynhurde in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of the county of Worcester in 1327, Adam Swynherde in the same rolls but for the county of Sussex, also in 1327, whilst John de Swynyard, which is clearly a topographical name probably referring to a landowner, appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire in the year 1332.
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