The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname – Shardalow

shard_low_arms._smThe most ancient surname of Shardalow makes an impressive claim to being one of the oldest Anglo-Saxon surnames on record. The history of the name is closely woven into the intricate tapestry of the ancient chronicles of England.

Professional researches have carefully scrutinized such ancient manuscripts as the Domesday Book (1068), The Ragman Rolls (1291-1296), the Curia Regis Rolls, The Pipe Rolls, The Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismals, tax records and other ancient documents and found the first record of the name before the time of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 A.D.

Many different spellings were encountered in the research of your surname. Although your name spelled Shardlow, Sharlow, Shardlowe, Shardelow, Shardlaw, Shardelw, Shardalow, Shardelow, Shardlow, Shartlow, Shartloe, Shatlow, Shatloe, Shardelou, and these variations in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. Scribes and church officials, often travelling great distances, even from other countries, frequently spelt the names they were recording as they heard it. As a result the same person could find different spellings of the name recorded on birth, baptismal, marriage and death certificates as well as the other numerous records such as tax and census records.

The Saxon race gave birth to many English surnames not the least of which was the surname Shardalow. The Saxons were invited into England by the ancient Britons in the 5th century. They were a race of fair skinned people living along the Rhine valley as far northeast as Denmark. They were led by Generals/Commanders Hengist and Horsa. The Saxons settled in the county of Kent, on the southeast coast of England. Gradually, they probed north and westward, and during the next four hundred years forced the Ancient Britons back into Wales and Cornwall in the west, Cumberland to the north. The Angles, on the other hand, occupied the eastern coast, the south folk in Suffolk, north folk in Norfolk. Under Saxon rule England prospered under a series of High Kings, the last of which was Harold. In 1066, the Norman invasion from France occurred and their victory at the Battle of Hastings. Subsequently, many of the vanquished Saxon landowners forfeited their land to Duke William and his invading Norman nobles. Generally, the Saxons who remained in the south were not treated well under Norman rule, and many moved northward to the Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire away from the Norman oppression.

This notable English family name, Shardalow, emerged as an influential name in the county of Yorkshire where Sir John Shardelow was Lord of the Manor in the 13th century. His great seal portrayed his Coat of Arms granted to him by the King. The family later moved to Schimpling in the county of Norfolk. They also branched to Derbyshire. The family intermarried with some of the most distinguished families of Norfolk and Suffolk. Thomas Shardelow married Ann, daughter of Thomas Havers of Winfarthing in Norfolk in 1589. This line related to the Dukes of Norfolk, the senior peerage in all England. Their present family seat is still at Shardelow. Notable amongst the family at this time was there is no evidence that this family name migrated to Ireland but his does not preclude the possibility of individual migration to that country.

During the Middle Ages the surname Shardalow flourished and played an important role in local affairs and in the political development of England. During the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries England was ravaged by plagues and religious conflict. Puritanism, the newly found political fervour of Cromwellianism, and the remnants of the Roman Church rejected all non believers, each promoting their own cause. The conflicts between Church groups, the Crown and political groups all claimed their followers , and their impositions, tithes, and demands on rich and poor alike broke the spirit of men and many turned away from religion. Many families were freely ‘encouraged’ to migrate to Ireland, or to the ‘colonies’. Some were rewarded with grants of lands -- others were banished.

Some families were forced to migrated to Ireland where they became known as the ‘Adventurers for land in Ireland’. Protestant settlers ‘undertook’ to keep their faith, being granted lands previously owned by the Catholic Irish. They were known as the ‘Undertakers’. Sir John Shardelow, Lord of the Manor of Shardelow.

The New World offered better opportunities and some migrated voluntarily, some were banished mostly for religious reasons. Some left Ireland disillusioned, but many left directly from England, their home territories. Some also moved to the European continent.

Members of the family name Shardalow sailed aboard the huge armada of three masted sailing ships known as the ‘white Sales’ that plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships such as the Hector, the Dove and the Rambler, were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30-40% of the passenger list never reaching their destination, their numbers reduced by dysentery, cholera, small pox and typhoid.

In North America, included amongst the first migrants which could be considered a kinsman of the surname Shardalow, or a variable spelling of that family name was William Shardlow arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682; D. Shatlow arrived in San Francisco in 1852.

From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagon trains to the prairies or to the West Coast. During the War of Independence many loyalists made their way north to Canada bout 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.

Contemporary notables of this surname, Shardalow, included many distinguished contributors; Leonard Shardelow, Physiologist.

During the course of our research we also determined the many Coat of Arms granted to different branches of the family name.

The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found was: Silver background, a red chevron, two crosses at the top, and a cross in base. The Crest is: A plume of feathers. (See above)