Recorded in various spellings including Sawer, Sawers, Sawyer, and Sawyers, this is an English surname. It was occupational for a very important job, that of sawing and planing timber, a mainstay occupation of the ancient times. It derives from the Olde English pre 7th century word "sagu", and the medieval "saghe", and means literally one who saws wood. The earliest recordings are spread around England and show the necessity of the process of preparing "sawn timber", indeed without "sawyers" medieval life would have been impossible. These recordings include Humphrey le Sayhare, in the 1270 Somerset Rolls, Philip le Sagher in the Wakefield (Yorkshire) Rolls for 1324, and John le Saghiere in the Sussex Rolls of 1327, the latter spelling showing the French influence. A coat of arms was granted to John Sawyer of Kettering , Northamptonshire, in 1604. The blazon being a lozengy of gold and blue, on a red pale, three escallops - the sign of a pilgrim to the Holy Land. One of the most famous lawyers of the 17th Century was Sir Robert Sawyer, the Attorney General of England, in 1682, whilst one of the earliest settlers in Virginia, America was William Sawyer of James City, recorded on February 16th, 1623. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas de Sagyere, which was dated 1248, in the records of the Abbey of Bec, Berkshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.