This surname SWORDS was derived from the Old English word 'saeweard' a name meaning 'Victory-Lord'. The name was also applied to a maker of swords and armour. The name dates to the Domesday Book of 1086 as SAUUARD, SEUUARD and SEUUART. Other spellings of the name include SOORD, SWORDER, SWORDE, SEWARD and SVARD. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday book. Early records of the name mention Sewardus de Hohton, 1199, County Lancashire. Richard Siward was documented in County Oxford in the year 1235. Edward Sewards of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377), and William Seaward appears in County Lancashire in 1350. Cecelia Sueherd of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 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 was also an occupational name for a swineherd, one who looked after the swine, derived from the Old English elements of SU (pig) and HIERD (herd). Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state.
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