Shephard Coat of Arms
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Which coat of arms or "family crest" is mine?
Choose the design you like best, just your ancestors did when they painted these symbols on the shields they carried into battle and displayed in their homes. These coats of arms are real, historical works of art/culture dating back as far as 1100AD. Most of these designs were compiled and documented by genealogists and heraldists in large books published in the nineteenth century. These arms were owned by individuals who bore your surname, and were passed down through the generations from father to son, earning the monicker "family crest".
Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Shephard Name
Origins of Shephard:
This name is of Anglo-Saxon origins. It is usually a professional name either for someone employed to tend and watch over sheep or as a town watchkeeper. The origin is from the pre 7th-century word “sceap”, with either “hierde” a herdsman, or “weard”, a watchman. Occasionally the new surname may acquire from a professional name for a “shipward”. Thomas Shypward in 1432 and John Shipward in 1467 noted in the record of the skilled men of the city of Bristol. There are at least ten variant spellings of the surname, ranging from Shepherd, Shephard and Sheppard to Shepeard, Shepheard, Shepperd and Shippard. Amongst the listed examples of the name in the early remaining church records of the city of London is the christening of Jone Shepherd in August 1585, at St. Mary’s, Whitechapel, Stepney, whilst Samuell Shepard was an early emigrant to the American colonies, leaving London on the “Defence” in July the year 1635.
More common variations are: Shepheard, Shephaerd, Schephard, Sheaphard, Shepharrd, Sheophard, Shephrd, Schephardt, Shephearde, Sheapheard.
The surname Shephard first appeared in the Southern divisions of England, where they could found from early times. Early noted examples of the name include William Sepherd listed in Rotuli Hundredorum, in Oxfordshire in 1279. The same rolls listed Margaret le Sephirde in Huntingdon and Walter le Schepherde in Cambridgeshire. Henry Sephurde noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex of 1296 while Walter Le Shepperde noted in the Feet of Pines of Staffordshire in 1307.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of William Shepherd, dated about 1279, in the “Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire”. It was during the time of King Edward I who was known to be the “The Hammer of the Scots”, dated 1272 – 1307. 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. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.
Many of the people with surname Shephard had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Shephard landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 17th and 19th. Some of the people with the name Shephard who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included Humphrey Shephard, who came to Boston in 1635.
The following century saw more Shephard surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Shephard who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included John Shephard, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1823. Patrick Shephard, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1829. D A Shephard, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850. J L N Shephard, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851. George Shephard, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) Division, Pennsylvania in 1860.
People with the surname Shephard settled in Canada in the 18th century. Some of the individuals with the surname Shephard who came to Canada in the 18th century included Joseph Shephard, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778.
Some of the individuals with the surname Shephard who landed in Australia in the 19th century included William Henry Shephard arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship “Tarn O’Shanter” in 1836. Anne Shephard arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship “Ramillies” in 1849. Hannibal Shephard arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship “Aliquis”.
Some of the population with the surname Shephard who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included William Shephard, aged 31, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship “London” in 1842. Elizabeth Shephard, aged 29, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship “London” in 1842. Fanny Shephard, aged 7, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship “London” in 1842. James Shephard at the age of 5, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship “London” in 1842. William Shephard at the age of 3, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship “London” in 1842.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Shephard:
United States 7,981; England 3,479; Australia 1,716; Dominican Republic 1,298; Canada 785; South Africa 603; Turkey 175; New Zealand 149; Wales 147; Germany 134.
Adaline Shepherd is an American writer.
Alan Shepherd is a motorcycle Grand Prix road racer.
Amba Shepherd is an Australian singer.
Shephard Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Shephard blazon are the axe, fess and cock. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and argent.
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 1A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. 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 2Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 4Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
The Axe appears in many forms in heraldic art, coming from both the martial and the craft traditions, indeed someone today would have a hard time telling their common hatchet from a turner’s axe, but it is likely that those in the middle ages were more familiar with each. 6A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Axe Obviously the axe from a craft tradition may symbolise the holder being a practitioner of that craft, but the axes from a martial background are suggested by Wade to indicate the “execution of military duty”. 7The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P100
The fesse (also found as fess) is one of the major ordinaries to found in heraldry, being a bold, broad, horizontal band across the centre of the shield. It may originally have arisen from the planks of which a wooden shield can be constructed, the centremost plank being painted a different colour 8A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fesse. It is instantly recognisable as a symbol, for example the arms of COLEVILLE granted during the reign of Hery III are simply or, a fesse gules. With this clear association with the construction of the shield itself, Wade believes that the fesse can be taken to be associated with the military, as a “girdle of honour”.
The cock, and other members of its avian family are often found in coats of arms, although telling them apart simply from their images can sometimes be a challenge! Many times the precise choice of species arises as a play on words on the family name, sometimes now lost in history. 9A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cock The cock itself, Wade points out is a “bird of great courage” and might be used as a symbol of “watchfullness”, being the herald of the dawn. 10The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P80