This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and comes from a medieval occupational name for a forester (which has formed another well known surname), a man employed to look after the trees and the game in the forest. This was a very important and well respected profession, since the woods and the game animals therein were usually preserved against poachers and were solely for the use and enjoyment of the king or the local lord of the manor. The "New Forest" in Hampshire is a prime example of such a protected area and the punishment for infringement was usually death. The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wudu", wood, and "weard" guardian or protector. One Christopher Woodward was an early settler in Virginia, leaving London in the "Tryall" in June 1620 for America. A Coat of Arms granted to the Woodward family of Woodmarsh, Kent, depicts a black chevron between three green grasshoppers on a silver shield. A demi woman couped at the knees, clad in red garments and with her gold hair dishevelled, holding in her right hand a honeysuckle, is on the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sewhal le Wudeward, which was dated 1208, in the "Pipe Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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