The Gaylard Name

When I first started this research I had heard that the Gaylard's were probably derivedfrom French Huguenots, there was a nice Chateau in France with the right sort of name. Then there are those that said that tie their surname back to the Norman Invasion of 1066. Well, I guess that there are too many people who have a predisposition to make a connection out of a flight of fancy. So, I make no claims to know with any degree of authority where the name came from. All I can say is that I have found evidence of a Gaylard name derivative that predates the Huguenots and that the date of this tends to back the Norman influx idea.

Although the name is supposed to be present in some records from Dorset , Somerset and further afield, it is fair to say the the epicenter is focused very much on a small area between Yeovil and Taunton in Somerset; Pitminster seems to be the earliest source, then Martock and Stoke Sub Hamdon . That said, Sherborne in Dorset also figures for one prominent or rather, notable Gaylard. But then Sherborne is so close by car these days that I am guessing that it was a relatively easy horse ride some 300-400 years ago.

Name Variants

During the research I have discovered the following name variations:

  • Gaillard
  • Guillard
  • Gillard
  • Gayleard
  • Gaylord

There are a few variations on even these but I guess that these tend to be down to factors such as illiteracy and typographical errors on record transcriptions.

There are some families that tend to switch between Gaylard and Gillard, sometimes from one census to another, but often the spelling changes by generation until one version or another sticks.