|About The Sherman Family
The Sherman name first appeared among some Saxony people living along the Rhine River as far back
as the 10th century. The earliest record found of the Sherman name in England was June 8, 1274
when a license to trade in wool was granted at Westminster to Richard le Sherman, a merchant of
Huthe in Essex County. There are also records of William le Shereman of London in 1281, John
Sherman of Suffolk in 1327 and Philip Shareman of Essex also in 1327. Before the 12th century
most people only had a first name. Later their occupation was often added and became their last
name (surname). Middle names did not appear until the early 1800s.
The origin of the name Sherman came from some early progenitor whose occupation was a cloth-
finisher, one who trimmed the surface of the finest cloth with shears to remove any excess nap.
They were cloth dressers and workers with cloth, commonly called clothiers. This kind of
tradesman was referred to as the "Shearmancraft." The Shermans of the city of York in the 14th
century formed one of the most ancient of all guilds, to which only the most highly skilled would
be accepted as members.
Names were seldom written in the 1300-1500s, but when they were, they were generally spelled as
the recorder saw fit. Alternate English spellings are Shearman, Sharman, Shereman and Shurman.
German and Dutch spellings are Schuerman, Schuermann and Schuurman. French spellings have the "le"
prefix ("le Sherman"). The common spelling seen in early documents for our family name is
Shearman until about the mid 1800s when it changed gradually to Sherman.
The Shermans in England were middlemen who bought lengths of cloth from cottage weavers. Then
they dressed or sheared it, dyed it if they had a woadhouse, sorted it for quality, baled it,
marked it with their trademark, and sold it at weekly auctions to the clothes makers.
In the early 19th century the name Sherman was well known in England with the building and
operation of fast mail and stage coaches.
Our Sherman ancestors of England were wealthy landed gentry and yeomanry. They lived mostly in
the area northeast of London called East Anglia.
The coat of arms for the Shermans of Yaxley in Suffolk County, England shows a black rampant lion
between three green oak leaves. The family motto is "Mortem Vincere Virtute" (Conquer Death by
Bravery). The crest is a sea lion.