Motto: Fide et virtute (By fidelity and valour)
This surname is clearly of occupational origin ‘the shepherd’, from the Latin, ‘pastor’. An alternative suggestion is that in some instances this name may have absorbed ‘shipward’, but this seems confined to England. The name Shepherd is by no means confined to Scotland and there will be vast numbers of people bearing the surname who have no connection with Scotland. First mention of the name in Old English would appear to be William Shepherd in 1297 and in Old Scottish records we learn of a Henricus Scypherd who held land in Elgin in 1363.
They never have become a 'Clan' in their own right but without question such dynasties that did evolve allied themselves with the major families they served or who were their neighbours. The Borders, where most shepherds pursued their occupation, were the 'cock-pit' in the wars between Scotland and England and undoubtedly many then forsook their pastoral duties and played their part as occasion demanded.
Few would have been landholders in their own right and thus records of their existence are scant in national or estate archives. On the Moray coast, and in Aberdeen and Angus, the name enjoyed particular popularity and so it remains to this day.
In the Jacobite Rising of 1745 at least three Angus 'Shepherds' served in Ogilvy's Regiment, one of whom was later transported to the Colonies. In bibliographies of Scottish families only two are indicated as having had information published on their ancestry, The 'Shepards of Braco' who are mentioned in the ‘Thanage of Fermartyn’, and the 'Sheppards of Duchray', who appear in Burke's ‘Landed Gentry’.
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