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Surname Churchward - Meaning and Origin

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Churchward: What does the surname Churchward mean?

The last name Churchward is generally derived from a locational surname, which is a surname derived from a place such as a town, village, or location. In this case, the place is usually a church, and the word ward in the surname is derived from Old English Or Olde English meaning “guardian” or “keeper”, often meaning the keeper or guardian of a church (or “churchwatcher” or “steward”).

According to records from the late Middle Ages, the earliest documented ancestor of this name first appeared in Norfolk, England, during the late 12th century. He went by the name of Wode or Woodward, which was eventually changed to Churchward.

The Churchward name may also have come from a hobby or particular skill inherited from an ancestor. Being a churchwarden was an important role at the time, and many people were appointed to the position. There are records of other families adopting the name purely as an emblem of respectability or as a sign of their status.

It’s likely that the Churchward last name may have been chosen by individuals who were either actively involved in the Church or had relative ties to the church. With the Church being an important part of some people's lives, it makes sense that having Churchward as a surname would have been quite desirable.

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Churchward: Where does the name Churchward come from?

The last name Churchward is most commonly found today in England and Wales. It ranks 35,478th in terms of frequency and is most highly concentrated in the West Midlands region. Here, it is found in towns such as Birmingham, Dudley and Sandwell, as well as the surrounding areas.

It is likely the name came from an old English word churchward, meaning ‘a person who is in charge of a parish church’, or churchwarden. This could indicate an ancient association with the Christian church in the areas where it is found today, although this is hard to trace back.

The Churchward surname is also associated with two distinct coats of arms, each with its own distinct blazon and containing unique symbols and colours. One of them is a liver-coloured shield, divided into three parts, with a white saltire in the top right-hand corner, and the other depicts a green escutcheon with a chevron between three cornucopias.

Today, the Churchward surname is still found mainly in the West Midlands region, however due to the continual mobility of the population, it is possible to also find it elsewhere in the UK, as well as abroad.

Variations of the surname Churchward

Churchward is a surname of English origin. It is derived from the Old English word 'circeweard', meaning guard or warden of the church, which was a position of responsibility in medieval England. The variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin that derive from the same root word are:

- Churchwarden (the original spelling)

- Churchward

- Churcheward

- Churchard

- Churchwood

- Churchwarden (modern spelling)

- Churchwarder

- Churchwarding

- Churchwaring

- Churchwarks

- Churchest

- Churchewarden

- Kirkward

- Curchewarde

- Kerkwert

- Cherchewardin

- Kirkewarden

- Kerkwarder

- Kircheward

- Kerkward

In addition, Churchward is sometimes used as an Anglicised version of a number of other surnames, some of which may be of non-English origin. These include Kerkhof, Kerkhove, Kerckhoff, Kerkhoff, Kerkhoff, and Kerkhoff.

Famous people with the name Churchward

  • Arthur Churchward: Arthur Churchward was the brother of George James Churchward and was an engineer who worked on the Great Western Railway and London and North Eastern Railway, as well as being a director at both companies.
  • Harry Churchward: Harry Churchward was the youngest son of George James Churchward and succeeded as a locomotive superintendent at both the Great Western Railway and the London and North Eastern Railway.
  • Osler Churchward: Osler Churchward was the nephew of George James Churchward and served as a First World War soldier in the South Staffordshire Regiment.
  • Karl Churchward: Karl Churchward was a son of Arthur Churchward and was educated at Eton and went to serve in the Royal Artillery.
  • Richard Churchward: Richard Churchward was the nephew of George James Churchward and worked as a locomotive enginedriver and footplate man on the Great Western Railway. He was later to become a locomotive inspector at both the Great Western Railway and the London and North Eastern Railway.
  • Arthur David Churchward: Arthur David Churchward was a great grandchild of George James Churchward and worked as a locomotive works manager for the Great Western Railway and was later to become the locomotive superintendent at the Eastern Region, British Rail.
  • Freddie Churchward: Freddie Churchward was the son of Richard Churchward and worked at the Great Western Railway as a train examiner, locomotive examiner, locomotive inspector, footplate man and station foreman.
  • Thomas Churchward: Thomas Churchward was the son of Arthur Churchward and was responsible for the construction of steam locomotives for the Great Western Railway and the London and North Eastern Railway.

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