Recorded in several spellings including Exer, Exor, Isgar, Ixer and Ixor, this unusual name appears to be personal, although its origins are so deeply rooted in antiquity as to have nearly disappeared from record. One possible source tells us that the name hails from the West Country, where it flourished, translating as a descriptive term meaning "ironspear". However, it is more likely that it derives from the Old French personal name, "Ishard", meaning Ice-hard!. "Ishard" may also have been used as a nickname for someone who was known to be cool-headed, and also strong and brave in battle. As such the name is believed to have been introduced into England by followers of William the Conquer after the Norman Invasion of 1066, being first recorded in the spelling of Isgare, see below. The spelling in the London area follows a softer pronunciation, and examples from the church registers include John Exar, who married Annie Pepper at St Mary Mounthaw, on July 25th 1660, and Benjamin Ixer, who married Ellin Hassell, at St Thomas's, Westminster, on August 16th 1767.The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of John Isgare, which was dated circa 1350, in "Kirby's Quest for Somerset", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The father of the English navy", 1327 - 1377.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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