In the spelling as Callard, this is regarded as an English surname. Its origins however are French. The derivation is from the ancient pre 10th century word "cail," which has had various meanings including that of being a person who caught "quaill" for a living, or as a baptismal name of endearment or in some cases, a nickname. As a nickname it may have described a timid person, but the medieval times being one where language and humour can best be described as very robust, the evidence suggests that in most cases nicknames meant the very opposite of what they appear to say.A good example of the genre in England was that of Little John, the nickname for the largest man in Robin Hood's famous band of outlaws. Unfortunately early French records are at the best erratic and often on existent, many registers being destroyed in the Revolution of 1792 - 1794, and therefore it is not easy to find examples showing the ongoing surname development. The modern surname is however available in a wide range of spellings which include: Cail, Lacaille, Caillier, Caillette, Cailloux, Caillard as well as the English Callard. In England the name is particularly associated with the Hugenot protestant refugees of the 17th and 18th centuries, who fled France. These early recordings taken from surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Guillaume Caillart, a witness at Threadneedle Street French church, on December 26th 1621, Elizee Callart, who married Judith Herbert, at St Jean French church, Spitalfields, on July 23rd 1699, Daniel Calard, recorded at the Savoye French church, Spring Gardens, city of London, on September 4th 1703, and Daniell Callard, at St Lukes church, Old Street, Finsbury, on August 25th 1742.
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