The surname of SHEPHEARD was an occupational name 'the shepherd' one who looked after the sheep. The name has many variant spellings which include Shephard, Shepperd, Shepheard and Shepherd. Early records of the name mention Josse le Sephurde, 1273 County Oxford. William Shephirde of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Johannes Schedphirde, 1379, ibid. James Sheppard of Eccles (butcher) was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1614. Jack Sheppard (1702-24) was an English robber, born in Stepney, London. He committed the first of many robberies in 1720, and in 1724 was five times caught, and four times escaped. He was hanged at Tyburn in the presence of 20,000 spectators. He was the subject of many ballads by Daniel Defoe. William Curling and Ann Shepherdson, were married at Canterbury Cathedral, Kent in the year 1798. Originally the coat of arms was purely a practical matter used in battles and tournaments to distinguish the knight from his followers. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing his body 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. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The arms were granted to Robert Sheppard, Esq., of Pesemarsh, co. Sussex, by Cooke, Clarenceux, in 1570. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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