- This name, with variant spellings Byrd, Byrde and Bride, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bridde" (Middle English "brid" or "bird"), meaning a bird, originally given as a nickname to one thought to bear a fancied resemblance to a bird, i.e., bright eyed or active, or perhaps to one with a beautiful singing voice. The surname was first recorded towards the end of the 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Ralph le Brid(d), a witness in the 1235 Fine Court Rolls of Essex, and Richard Bird, a witness in the 1260 Assize Court Rolls of Cambridgeshire. The variant spelling Bride, most closely resembling the original Olde English "bridde", was first recorded as a surname in 1332, when John Bride was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland, and later in the Century, Johannes Bridde was recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. Occasionally, Bird (and its variants) may have been given as a metonymic occupational name to a bird catcher, and as such was a shortened form of the name "Birdclever", recorded in the 1427 "Calverley Charters of Yorkshire". Henry Bird was an early settler in the New World, he was recorded as purchasing a ticket for the ship "Amity" sailing to London, in July 1679 from Barbados. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is on a silver shield a red cross flory between four red martlets, a blue canton, the Crest being a red martlet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Earnald Brid, which was dated 1193, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.
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