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Surname:  Ward
Branch:  Ward
Origins:  British
More Info:  England

Background:  An occupational name for a "guard or watchman," from Old English "weard" = guard. It is also means a geographical name for a person who lived near a guardhouse or fortress.

Motto:  Usque ad mortem fidus, Faithful even to death.

View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.

The last occupational name to pass the thousand mark is Ward, a simple Old English monosyllable meaning a guardian, keeper or watchman, a person so obviously useful and important that little more need be said about his function. This word was a favourite among the Anglo-Saxons for forming their Christian names, as in Edward and Hereward, and was used in many compounds. The title 'lord' originated as the 'hlaf-weard', the guardian of the loaf, but this is going a long wasy back. Our surnames still echo the lesser titles of the Durward (Door-keeper, largely superceded by Porter), the Hallward, the Woodward (later the forester), and the Churchward, now become the Churchwarden. The best known of these compounds was the Hayward, a familiar figure in most villages from early times. His task was to guard - not the hay as one might easily think, but the enclosures. The great fields shared out in strips and cultivated communally by the villagers were protected by moveable hurdles, and it was the responsibility of the hayward to see that all was well and no animals strayed on to the precious crops. If they did he might impound them. Custom varied from one place to another, but in many villages there was a certain authority as well as useful perquisites attached to the office of hayward which made it well worth holding.

Name Variations:  Warde, Wardman, Wordman, Wards, Ward, Wardell, Warden, Wardley, Warfield, Warford, Warley, Warmond, Warton, Warwick .

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
English Surnames; C.M. Matthews - 1966.
A Dictionary of English Surnames; P.H. Reaney - 1958.

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