Hayward (profession)

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For other uses of "Hayward", see Hayward.

Hayward, or "hedge warden", was an officer of an English parish dating from the Middle Ages in charge of fences and enclosures; also, a herdsman in charge of cattle and other animals grazing on common land.[1]

The hayward was chosen by the lord of the manor or elected by the villagers to lead the sowing and harvesting, to impound stray cattle, and to supervise hedging and temporary fencing around hay meadows. The hayward's symbol of office was a horn, which he blew to give warning that cattle were invading the crops.


  1. ^ Susa Young Gates (1918). Surname book and racial history. Pg. 435. "Hay, or hedged enclosure-keeper; O. E., haeg, haga, hedged enclosure and w(e)ard, keeper. The duties of the hayward were of a varied nature. His chief task seems to have been to guard the cattle at pasture ; also to protect the crops, trim the hedges, etc.."