Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Isherwood Name
Origins of Isherwood:
This unique name, with the alternatives Esherwood and Usherwood, is of English origin and is geographical from a now so-called “lost” Hamlet in the church of Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire. The name first appeared in Lancashire documents in the 13th Century and is still largely limited to that area. The origin could either be from the particular name “Ishere,” hence meaning, “Isheres” which means wooded land, or it could be “the wood of the leader” (door keeper) as the early pre 17th Century spellings being with either a Y or a U. The appearance of the “lost” Hamlet was the result of forced land clearance for sheep meadow in the Middle Ages, as well as natural causes such as disease, war and those migrating to search work to another place. An early documentation of the name appeared in Standish, Lancashire is of one Elizabeth Isherwood who married Milo Standanought in 1571. The most notable ancestor of the name is one Christopher Isherwood, novel writer (1904 – 1986) whose family were landholders in Cheshire since the 16th Century.
More common variations are: Usherwood, Isharwood, Esherwood, Asherwood, Osherwood, Usharwood, Osherod, Ishrd
The surname Isherwood first appeared in Monmouthshire, where they held a family seat from very early times. Some say well before the Norman Invasion and the entrance of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 AD.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of William de Serwude, dated about 1246, in the “Assize Rolls,” Lancashire. It was during the time of King Henry III who was known to be the “The Frenchman,” dated 1216 – 1272. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England.
Many of the people with surname Isherwood had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Isherwood landed in the United States in three different centuries respectively in 18th, 19th, and 20th. Some of the people with the name Isherwood who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included William Isherwood settled in New England in 1703.
Individuals with the surname Isherwood who landed in the United States in the 19th century included Joseph Isherwood arrived in Philadelphia in 1856. John Isherwood, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) Division, Pennsylvania in 1864. Thomas Isherwood, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) Division, Pennsylvania in 1868. Richard Isherwood, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1870. James Isherwood, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1879.
The following century saw more Isherwood surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Isherwood who arrived in the United States in the 20th century included Edmund Isherwood at the age of 5, who emigrated to America from Kearsley, England, in 1906. Emma Isherwood at the age of 31, who settled in America from Bolton, England, in 1906. Charles Isherwood at the age of 23, who shifted to the United States from Manchester, England, in 1906. Abraham Isherwood at the age of 30, who settled in America from Blackpool, England, in 1908. Alfred Isherwood at the age of 22, who landed in America from Manchester, England, in 1909.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Isherwood: England 3,651; United States 1,317; South Africa 931; Canada 506; Australia 486; New Zealand 270; Germany 235; Wales 226; Scotland 164; France 122.
Annie Isherwood (1862—1906), was an Anglican novitiate and founder of the Community of the Resurrection of Our Lord in Grahamstown, South Africa.
Benjamin F. Isherwood (1822—1915), was a U.S. ship’s engineer and United States Navy administrator.
Brian Isherwood (born 1946), was a New Zealand cricket player.
Charles Isherwood was a theater expert.
Christopher Isherwood (1904—1986), was an English novel writer.
Geof Isherwood (born 1960), was a Canadian illustrator and comics artist.
George Isherwood (born 1889), was an English rugby union player and part of the first official British Isles team in 1910.
Isherwood Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Isherwood blazon are the lion, leopard, bar gemel and martlet. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, ermine and sable .
Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” . The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance .
Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found . The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur . In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions . Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” , a sentiment echoed equally today.
In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The leopard Is a typical example of these.
The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. Gemel simply means “doubled” , so whatever it is applied to appears twice, slightly reduced in size to occupy a similar amount of space to the original. This is different from having “two” of something, and indeed it is possible to have, for example two bars gemel, in which there are two, clearly separated pairs of bars.