Hayward Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Hayward Surname Meaning

The word hayward appeared in the English medieval poem Piers Plowman that was written in the 14th century.

A hayward had an important role to play in the feudal manorial system. His original duties were to protect the fences around the lammas lands when enclosed for hay – hence his name Hayward from the Old English hezeweard or “guardian of the hedge.” The heze was a dead hedge easily erected or removed to form an enclosure.

The hayward duties might also extend to seeing that breaches in the hedges were repaired, that straying cattle were impounded, and that fines, where deemed necessary, were issued and collected. Surname variants have been Haward and Heyward.

Hayward Surname Resources on The Internet

Hayward Surname Ancestry

  • from Western England
  • to America, Canada and Australia

England. Rural England, as might be expected, has been where the surname Hayward was to be found, either in the west country (from Shropshire down to Hampshire on the south coast) or in the southeast (East Anglia and Kent).

West of England.  George Hayward was a prosperous shoemaker in Bridgnorth, Shropshire in the early 1500’s.

His son Rowland Hayward became wealthy from the international cloth trade and emerged as one of the leading merchants and financiers in London in the Elizabethan age. He was a man of remarkable energy, marrying at the age of 60 a woman of 16 who was to bear him eight children. He was revered in London for his work in plague relief, but succumbed himself to the disease in 1593. These Haywards retained a base in Shropshire, at their Wenlock manor hall.

Haywards were to be found in Gloucestershire at Beverstone and Stonehouse and also in Bristol.

An old Wiltshire family produced Abraham Hayward, a Victorian man of letters. Other Haywards in Wiltshire have been traced to Freshfield manor in the 18th century and also to the villages of Roundway, Lacock and Westbury. Frederick Hayward left Lacock in 1846 for South Australia where he made his money in sheep-farming. He returned a wealthy man and played the role of local squire in later life.

East of England. The Hayward name cropped up in Hungerford in Berkshire, in Great Bardfield in Essex, and in villages near Sudbury and Stowmarket in Suffolk. Thomas Hayward from Ringshall Hall in Suffolk set off for Western Australia in the 1850’s where he prospered as a farmer and merchant.

America. The first Hayward arrivals in America, in the 1630’s, may well have been Thomas and Suzanna Hayward from Aylesford in Kent. They settled in Bridgewater and their descendants in Easton, Massachusetts. Later descendants were to be found in New Jersey and in Michigan and Minnesota.

Haywards in the South.  Daniel Heyward arrived in Charleston in the 1670’s and was the forebear of one of the leading families of South Carolina during the 18th and 19th centuries. Thomas Heyward was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Later Haywards were among the largest rice growers in the South, employing more than 3,000 slaves at one time.

However, the family was ruined by the Civil War and a subsequent Heyward, DuBose Heyward, grew up in straightened circumstances. He was the author of the play Porgy and in the 1930’s combined with George Gershwin for the score for Porgy and Bess.

Haywards in California.  It has been in California where Haywards have also left their mark in America:

  • Alvinza Hayward who made his fortune during the Gold Rush and was called “the richest man in California.”
  • William Hayward who arrived in San Francisco at around the same time. He made no money from gold mining. But he left his name to the city of Hayward, now part of Oakland.
  • and Leland Hayward, the grandson of a US Senator from Nebraska, who came to Hollywood in the 1940’s and was soon acting as the agent for many of the top movie stars. He is best remembered today for his Broadway stage productions of South Pacific and The Sound of Music.

Canada. Ephraim Hayward, a New England planter, came to Nova Scotia from Massachusetts in the early 1760’s. His descendants are still to be found there. Henry Hayward, a British soldier, was granted land in Hopewell, New Brunswick after the Revolutionary War.

Later Hayward arrivals came to Ontario, such as William and Hannah Hayward from Essex who crossed the Atlantic in 1837 and settled in Eastwood, Oxford county. Another Hayward family, from Westbury in Wiltshire, arrived in the 1850’s. Several of them later moved onto Alberta.

Australia. Elizabeth Hayward was a clogmaker who stole a linen dress and silk bonnet. For this crime she was sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia. She was onboard the First Fleet convoy in 1788. At age 13, she was then and remained the youngest woman ever transported.

Hayward House in Port Macquarie, NSW was built by Charles Hayward, a convict who came to Australia in 1826. His son Frederick became Port Macquarie’s second mayor.

The main Hayward presence, however, has been in South Australia:

  • Fred Hayward from Somerset started a sheep station at Pekina near Burra in 1847. His account of his life at that time, Incidents in My Australian Life, was written in 1872.
  • Other Haywards became one of the old established families of Adelaide. They bought into the John Martin’s department store on Rundle Street in 1878. Sir Edward Hayward of this family took over the business in the 1930’s.

Hayward Surname Miscellany

The Hayward in the Medieval Village.  There was an interesting entry about pea-gleaning in Wolveston in 1378:

“It was ordained by common consent that, when the hayward blew his horn, they should come to gather peas; and when he blew his horn again, they should depart from the said peas under the pain of 6d and also that none should gather among other peas than his own except for the poor.” 

The Will of Robert Hayward of Hungerford.  To the Blessed Virgin Mary and all saints in Heaven, my body to be buried in the churchyard of Hungerford beside my wife Agnes to the mother church of Sarum, 4d to the high altar of my parish church at Hungerford, 12d to the said church, 6s 8d towards a cross to be bought to the church of silver and gilt and to no other use to our lady light one pound of wax, to the rood light one pound of wax, to St. Katherine light one pound of wax to Thomas Carpynter of Hungerford, 6s 8d to Robert Helgare of Kintbury, 6s 8d to the vicar of Hungerford for forgotten tithes, 12d to every godchild of mine, 4d

I bequeath my three houses set in Hungerford with the land’s pastures and meadows belonging to them to my son William and his heirs forever; also to my son William my three acres of arable land lying in Charnam field by Standgrove.

To my son William three score weathers of the best; also to my son William all my linen shop with the coffers therewith with the weights and measures belonging to the same; also to William my horses and my carts with apparel belonging, also six of my best brass pots, also six of my best pans, two of my cawdrons, four latten basins, one of my great kettles, two of my best meshing fats, six of my best candlesticks, also my great “meshing hony fate” with the press and leather tags to the same belonging, also half “a garmish ” of pewter vessels that is to say six plates, six poringers, and six saucers, also my best bed with apparel (i.e. the best bolster, the best pillow, the best testor or sparver, the best blankets and the best coverlet; also the right and title to my indenture which I have to the farm of tithings belonging to the chapel of St. Faith within the parish of Hungerford.

Also to my wife and William my son all my crops this year growing upon my land to be divided equally between them; also my wife to have half the house to dwell in with my son William and half the lands pertaining to the same during her life and after her death wholly to remain to my son William and his heirs, the residue to my wife and to William who are joint executors to dispose for the health of my soul as they think best.

Witnesses: John Lovelake; Master John Hakett, vicar; Thomas Burton; Thomas Mason; January Kyrton, Geoffrey Gusset – 28 May, 1524.

Sir Rowland Hayward.  Rowland Hayward was born in Bridgnorth, Shropshire around 1520, the son of George Hayward a prosperous shoemaker who became the local MP. The young Rowland was educated in the town’s grammar school.

Coming to London, he was freeman of the Clothworkers’ Company in 1541, was promoted to the Livery in 1549 and served as Master in 1559.  He made his money in the international cloth trade.  Later, he was a founder of the Muscovy Company which sought a northeast passage to the Indies.   He was wealthy and invested in property around the country.

His civic career was long and distinguished.  He became an Alderman in 1560 and the following year was made President of Bethelem and Bridewell hospitals.  He was later to serve as Surveyor General for hospitals and was revered for his work in plague relief.  However, he himself succumbed to disease in 1593.

Haywards from Wiltshire in Australia and South Africa.  The Hayward family tree shows them originating in the village of Lacock in Wiltshire and marrying into the aristocratic Johnson family of Bowden Hall (there was also a wealthy branch of the Hayward family living at Freshford manor during the 18th century).

Frederick Hayward, great grandson of John Hayward of Lacock, took passage from London to Australia in 1846.   He wrote:

“I landed in the colony with about forty pounds, was twenty four years of age, and anxious to turn my hand to anything in the shape of stock until I could get sufficient experience to start on my own account sheep farming.”

He became a notable figure in the development of sheep farming in South Australia and his name stands high on the roll of pastoral pioneers.  He returned to England in 1864 a wealthy man and purchased an estate at Limpley Stoke.  He named the estate Aroona after his old South Australian station.  Frederick and his wife Ellen had eleven children.  He was affectionately known locally as Squire Hayward and lived onto 1912, close to his ninetieth year.

One of his sons, also named Frederick, was known as “Bull” because of his size.  He turned up in South Africa in 1889 and created mayhem.  He made sure that his house at Killrush was a place of activity and entertainment, building a tennis court and a swimming pool in the garden.  He also ran an illicit still, keeping someone on guard to give warning in advance of the authorities arriving. Stories of him still circulate at Killrush Hotel today.

Thomas Hayward of Bridgewater.  The first Bridgewater Hayward was Thomas Hayward who was born in Aylesford, Essex in England in 1597. Thomas and his wife Suzanna arrived in America sometime between 1632 and 1640.  One son John was born in Aylesford in 1632; another son Nathaniel in Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1640.

During King Phillip’s War of 1676, Captain Thomas Hayward saw Indians lurking around Bridgewater and called for reinforcements.  They was slow in coming.  So an expedition from Bridgewater was sent out.  They captured or killed 173 Indians.  Those captured were taken to the town pound.  They were given food and drink and apparently had a merry night.

Nahum Mitchell in his History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater said that John Hayward always wrote his name Haward and so did all his descendants until after 1700. He also said that the two names Hayward and Haward were uniformly pronounced Howard and that they were perhaps the same originally and both Hayward, but in writing John omitted the “y.”

The Heywards After the Civil War.  Duncan Clinch Heyward, the son of one of the largest rice growers and slaveowners in the South, wrote about the changed conditions for his family after the Civil War:

“Late one afternoon in early January 1867, my father arrived at Combalee.  What seemed to surprise and hurt him most of all was the changed attitude toward himself of the Negroes who had so feelingly bade him goodbye when, only a year before, they had left his plantation on the Wateree.

In a letter to my mother, he commented on the rundown condition of everything and said:

‘But as to the human part of it!  Oh!  what a change.  It would have killed my father and worries me more than I expected, or rather the condition of the Negroes on the place is worse than I expected.  It is so very evident that they are disappointed at my coming here.   They were in hopes of getting off again and having the place to themselves.

They received me very coldly.  In fact it was some time before they came out of their houses to speak to me.  They are as familiar as possible and surprise me in their newly acquired Beaufort manner.  They are constantly in Beaufort, quite too much for their own good.'”

Alvinza Hayward in San Mateo.  Sandwiched between Burlingame to the north and Belmont to the south and stretching from the bay to the oak-studded hills, San Mateo has lured prospective residents with its location and mild Mediterranean climate since Alvinza Hayward built his mansion there in the late 1800’s.

The stick-style mansion with its gabled roof style was impressive and out of character for the stern, dour, sometimes vulgar Alvinza Hayward who had lived in the mansion with his wife Charity and daughter Emma.

He had on the estate a huge stable and a race track built to run his magnificent horses.  He fenced in deer and elk for his enjoyment and he had a lake created with plenty of ducks and swans.  Of course he had servants for tending to the cooking, housekeeping, and keeping the gardens, hedges, and grounds in immaculate shape.  But he was still a man from a laboring background.  His wife never did quite adjust to being rich and and practiced thrift almost to the extreme.

When Hayward died in 1904, the mansions and grounds were sold to a local group and converted into a hotel.  It burned in a spectacular 1920 fire.

The Haywards and Carrick Hill.  Edward was from the Hayward family which owned the much-loved John Martin’s (Johnnies) department store in Adelaide for over a century.  It was he who conceived the John Martin’s Christmas pageant in 1933, which still attracts crowds of 400,000 each November.  Ursula hailed from the Barr-Smith family, wealthy pastoralists and benefactors of many of Adelaide’s cultural institutions.

On their honeymoon in England in 1935, they fell in love with Beau Desert, a Jacobean mansion under demolition.  Over the next few years the magnificent staircase and landings, windows, door fittings, and oak panelling were transported to Adelaide.  They were part of the new manor style hall, Carrick Hill, which was completed with local Basket range stone on the eve of World War Two.

This house, from the 1940’s to the late 1970’s, was one of the major cultural hubs of Adelaide.  Sir Robert Helpmann and Barry Humphries would rub shoulders there with the likes of Vivienne Leigh, Katherine Hepburn, and Dame Judith Anderson over cocktails and at dinner parties.  It wasn’t just the stars of stage and screen who came to dinner.  Poets and writers dropped by.  And the Haywards were art collectors extraordinaire. The house was one of the few places in Australia where art by Gauguin, Renoir, and Vuillard could be found.

Carrick Hill was bequeathed to the people of South Australia in 1986.

Hayward Names

  • Sir Rowland Hayward, a cloth merchant from Shropshire, was twice Lord Mayor of London in Elizabethan England.
  • Thomas Hayward from Hungerford in Berkshire was the editor of The British Muse, an 18th century anthology of poetry.
  • Alvinza Hayward became the richest man in California after the money he made in the Gold Rush.
  • Sir Edward Hayward ran the John Martin’s department store in Adelaide and started its annual Christmas pageant in 1933.
  • Ike Hayward, the son of a Welsh coalminer, was leader of the London County Council from 1947 to 1965.  The Hayward art gallery on the South Bank was named after him.
  • Leland Hayward was a powerful and highly successful Hollywood agent and Broadway producer during the 1940’s and 1950’s.
  • Sir Jack Hayward is the English property developer best known for his ownership of his hometown football club, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Hayward Numbers Today

  • 14,000 in the UK (most numerous in Hampshire)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 10,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

Hayward and Like Surnames

These were status positions within the feudal position of that time – usually positions serving noble families, lords of the manor, or in the church.  Here are some of these status position surnames that you can check out.



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Written by Colin Shelley

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