The surname of HEARD was derived from the Old English word 'hierde' a name given to a herdsman, one who looked after the cattle. Many of the small villages in Europe, or from royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings, gave rise to many family names which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer. The name has many variant spellings which include HERD, HIRD, HIRDE, and HURD. Early records of the name mention Robert le Hirde, 1273, County Suffolk. Reginald le Herd was documented in County Somerset in the year 1243. Alanus Hyrd of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. A notable member of the name was Richard HURD (1720-1808) the English prelate and writer, named 'The Beauty of Holiness' on account of his comliness and piety. He was born in Congreve, Staffordshire and became a fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1742. In 1750 he became a Whitehall preacher, in 1774 bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, and in 1781 of Worcester. Among his works are 'Arts Poetica' (1749) and 'Letters on Chivalry and Romance' (1762). The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Heard). In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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