Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Sherwood Name
The name Sherwood is of Anglo-Saxon/English origin. The surname is thought to possibly be topographical, coming from the Royal Sherwood Forest, which was designated as such in the middle ages, near Nottingham. Many of the ancient surnames, actually acted as an indicator or representation of the birthplace of the individual by identifying easily recognizable landmarks. This worked well for the small settlements which existed at this time because people rarely traveled far from their homes and were familiar with the surrounding landscape.
There are multiple variations of the name which include but are not limited to; Sherwood, Sherewood, ShirewoodShirewude, Scirewode, and Shirewod among others. The variation in spelling of names during the early centuries and later can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in most European countries at this time.
The earliest record of any variation of the name is that of Ralph de Scirwode which appears in the Lincoln “Pipe Rolls” from 1273. The Pipe Rolls often times called the “Great Rolls” were a series of financial records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Edward 1st, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom. These records span a period of over 700 years and have proven invaluable to researches over the years. Additional records of those bearing any variation of the surname Sherwood include, Margareta de Shyrwode which appears in the Yorkshire “Pipe Rolls” from 1379.
The first recorded immigrant to America bearing the surname Sherwood or any variation of the spelling was Peter Sherwood who landed and settled in Virginia in 1621. Peceable Sherwood landed and settled in Jamestown, Virginia in 11624. Rebecca Sherwood landed in 1634 and settled in New England.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Sherwood are found in the United Kingdom, Australia, United States, New Zealand, and Canada. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Sherwood live in Maine and Washington state.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname Sherwood. Lord Sherwood, Colonel Sir Charles Seely, 1st Baronet was a Member of the British Parliament, an industrialist, and philanthropist. He was a major landholder on the Isle of Wight and in Nottinghamshire. At various times, he held the office of Deputy Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, High Sheriff of Nottingham, and he was awarded Knight of Grace the Venerable Order of Saint John. He maintained residence at the family estate, Sherwood Lodge until his death in 1915. Lord Sherwood 1st Baronet’s heir apparent was his eldest son, who was named Charles also.
Lord Sherwood, Charles Hilton Seely, 2nd Baronet, like his father was a Member of the British Parliament, an industrialist, and landowner. He served as Justice of the Peace for Nottinghamshire, was High Sheriff of Nottingham, was awarded Knight of Grace the Venerable Order of Saint John, and Baronet of Sherwood, a title he inherited upon his father’s death. He maintained residence at the family estate, Sherwood Lodge until his death in 1926. Lord Sherwood, 2nd Baronrt’s heir apparent was his eldest son, who was named Hugh.
Lord Sherwood, Hugh Seely, 3rd Baronet and 1st Baron of Sherwood was educated at Eton College, he was an officer in the British Army, a Member of Parliament, and Baronet of Sherwood, a title he inherited upon his father’s death. He maintained residence at the family estate, Sherwood Lodge until his death in 1970. As Lord Sherwood, 3rd Baronet and 1st Baron of Sherwood died childless, the barony became extinct. The family estate, Sherwood Lodge, is now an historical landmark.
Other notable persons bearing the surname Sherwood include; Carlton Sherwood was an award wining American journalist, having been part of two news crews which were awarded the Pulitzer Prize and a Peabody Award. Elmer William Sherwood was a Brigadier-General in the U. S. Army and a veteran of the fist World War. Alison Sherwood is an American Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. Don Sherwood, an American artist, illustrator, and cartoonist who was the first cartoonist to have a nationally syndicated comic, and Micheal Sherwood, and English banker who was previously vice chairman of Goldman-Sachs until 2008 and is currently the co-chief executive officer of Goldman-Sachs International, a position he has held since 2005. Goldman-Sachs is one of the largest multi-national investment banking institutions in the world.
Sherwood Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Sherwood blazon are the bull, chevron, mullet and torteaux. The three main tinctures (colors) are ermine, sable and azure .
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 bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli . Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” .
Bulls, and their close relations, cows, calves, oxen and the buffalo are relatively recent additions to the art of heraldry (and it is not always possible to distinguish between them in their renderings). They can be found in a variety of poses and may have horns, hooves and collared in a different colour. The writer Guillim noted that the prescence of a bull could signify ”valour and magnanimity”.
The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield , or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” , possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.
The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” . A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires . In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” .