This name is of Anglo-Saxon origins. It is usually an occupational name either for someone employed to tend and watch over sheep, or as a town watchkeeper. The derivation is from the pre 7th century word "sceap", with either "hierde" a herdsman, or "weard", a watchman. Occasionally the modern surname may derive from an occupational name for a "shipward". Thomas Shypward in 1432, and John Shipward in 1467 being listed in the register of the skilled men of the city of Bristol. There are at least ten variant spellings of the surname, ranging from Shepherd, Shephard and Sheppard to Shepeard, Shepheard, Shepperd and Shippard.Amongst the recorded examples of the name in the early surviving church registers of the city of London is the christening of Jone Shepherd on August 3rd 1585, at St. Mary's, Whitechapel, Stepney, whilst Samuell Shepard was an early emigrant to the American colonies, leaving London on the "Defence" in July 1635. A coat of arms associated with the surname has the blazon of a black shield, charged with a silver fess, and in chief three silver poleaxes. The crest is a stag standing on a green mound. The Motto, Fidelis translates as "Faithful". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Sepherd. This was dated 1279, in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st, and known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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