Origin of the Name Shields
family history was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives. Meaning 'of Shields', this is a locational name from the seaport and market-town in County Northumberland. Variants include Shiel, Shiell, Shiels, Shiells, Sheil, Sheils, Shield, Sheal and Sheals. This name is of Anglo-Celtic origin and is popular throughout England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It is found in many mediaeval manuscripts in the above islands. Examples of such are a Willemus de Scheles, who was recorded in the 'Poll Tax' of the West Riding of Yorkshire in the year 1379, and a William Shields and Martha Sedly who were married in Saint Georges Hanover Square in the year 1736. In Scotland a Thomas of le Schele was a juror on an inquisition made at Traqueyr in the year 1274. In Ireland this name is anglicized from the Gaelic O'Siaghail sept name, meaning 'descendant of Siadhal', a well attested personal name, and very popular throughout the four provinces.
A sept or clan is a collective term describing a group of persons whose immediate ancestors bore a common surname and inhabited the same territory. Irish septs and clans that are related often belong to even larger groups, sometimes called tribes.
The Shields coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all Shields descendants.