This name derives form the Olde English pre 7th Century 'cyrice' meaning church, plus 'weard', a ward of gaurdian, and was originally given as an occupation name to a church custodian. The first recording of the surname is a particularly early, one, (see below). An Aelfnod Cyrceweard appears in the 11th Century 'Olde English Byname Register' and a William le Chirchewart in the 1275 'Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire'. Adam Kirkeward recorded in Yorkshire circa 1400 has as the first element of his name the Northern Medieval English 'kirk', a church. On August 19th 1750 Margaret, daughter of John Churchward, was christened in St. Matthew's, Betnal Green, London, and on February 21st 1791 William Churchward and Elizabeth Richardson were married in St. Pancras Old Church, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Oscetel Cirwaerd, which was dated 949, 'The Anglo - Saxon Chronicles', Gloucestershire. during the reign of Edred the Saxon, 946 - 955. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.