This unusual and interesting name is a dialectual variant of the surname 'seward', and is found mostly in the Midlands. 'Seward' can have two distinct origins, the first of which is from either of the old English pre 7th century personal names 'sigeweard' or 'saeweard', which are composed of the elements 'sige', victory and 'sae', 'sea', plus 'weard' meaning to guard, or protect. The two names became confused in the early middle ages. The second possible origin is from the old English occupational name for a swineherd, from 'sn', pig, and 'hierde', herdsman. In the modern idiom the name varies from 'seward' and 'siward' to 'sheward', 'saward' and 'shnard'. One Agnes Sheward married Robert Shakespeare on the 19th of November 1559, at Bishops Tachbrook, Warwickshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Seward. which was dated 1275, The Shropshire Hundred Rolls during the reign of Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots. 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.