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Woodward Coat of Arms / Woodward Family Crest

Woodward Coat of Arms / Woodward Family Crest

The surname of WOODWARD was an official name 'the woodward' an officer who looked after the forest or woods. The name was derived from the Old English occupational name Wodewarde. Early records of the name mention Roger le WODEWARD who was documented in Kent, during the reign of Henry III (1216-1272). Johannes WODDEWORD of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. JOHN WODWARD was the keeper of Buck-holt wood in Gloucestershire for Henry VIII (1509-1547) The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The name is also spelt WODEWARD and WOODWARDS. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. A notable member of the name was Sir Arthur Smith WOODWARD (1864-1944) the English geologist, born in Macclesfield. He was keeper of geology at the British Museum. In 1898 he published 'Outlines of Vertebrate Palaeontology'.


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last updated on: April 3rd, 2017

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