I felt is was about time that someone wrote on the derivation of the Heald surname
The name Heald is derived fron the Anglo-Saxon word 'healdan' which has the meaning to 'hold','possess','guard','protect'.
The notion that 'heald' means 'slope' or 'hill' is a bit far-fetched, as those words come from different roots, as do 'hale' and 'heel'.
Hale is from 'haelen' meaning 'whole' or 'healthy'.
The "Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames", by Bardsley, gives the following;
"Heald -- local, at the hele, from the residence nearby. Hele seems to be a variant of hill. Also 'hale', nook or corner of land, from the Old English,hal".
This statement is questionable, as 'hill', is from the AS word 'hyll'. I can find no reference to word 'hele', and the OE word 'hal' means 'healthy'.
From the "Dictionary of Surnames", Hanks & Hodges, "Heald, English (Lancs & York): topological name for someone who lived on a hillside, from Old English 'hylde',hielde' slope.
Again I do not find the word 'hylde' or 'hielde' in Old English.
If they lived on a hillside and were named for living on a hillside;ie.topographical
based surname, wouldn't it be more logical to call them 'hyllside', which is the Old English/Anglo Saxon word for 'hillside' ?
Here is one from the 'Heald Surname Resource Center', whatever the heck that is !
"The name Heald is of ancient origin. Some authorities say it was derived from the ancient German or Danish 'held' or 'heldt'.
Others say it was a variation of the AS word 'haele' meaning a hero,chief or brave man. Still others say 'heald' is evidence that Heald was pronounced Hale. Other spellings are Hald,Held,Helde, Hailed, Healde. The first Heald in America was John Heald."
While we are at it, let's pick this one apart too. I have no idea what their source of information is or who their 'authorities' are.None of whom seem to agree on anything.
The 'ancient Germans' spoke Gothics, which was distantly related to Anglo Saxon, and Danish.
"Held" is the German word for Hero, and is from the same root as 'haele' or 'haeleth', the AS word for Hero.
I don't see the reasoningfor saying "heald' is evidence that Heald was pronounced Hale".Wouldn't it have been pronounced 'hailed' ?
And John Heald may not have been the first in America. There is the likely-hood that Robert Heald, who came to Charlestown, Mass, in 1632, and was a 'Proprietor of Norwalk', Connecticut in 1634, beat ol' John by a couple of ships. And when did Sarah Heald, who married John Leonard in 1640, in Springfield,Mass, arrive in America ?
And from one of those 'official' web sites, they say Heald is a Medieval/Old English word, 'hielde', meaning 'dweller on a slope',etc.
Several things to note. "Medieval' refers to the Middle Ages, which is generally considered to be from about 1100 to 1350. "Old English' or Anglo-Saxon was in use from about 428 to 1100. And I have not found the word 'hielde' in any form in the OE/AS vocabulary. The AS word for 'lean,slope or incline' is 'hleonian, pronounced with a silent 'h'.
I have found the word 'hielde' in Dutch,German and 'Middle English' and it means 'held, as in 'held on' or 'held to.
This one is from a site called 'Country Family' and altho they do not have a listing for the name 'Heald', they did have the following. "Halstead is derived as a place name for the man who originally lived in one of several so-named locations (Essex,Kent,Leicester, etc)which are composed of the Old English elements (ge)heald = hut, shelter + stede = site. etc"
I say now ! Bit of a stretch !
'ge' is a prefix which shows an action of doing; ie,geheald, meaning 'to' hold, 'to'possess, etc. In this case 'to' shelter I would be more inclined to think Halstead was derived from 'hal', healthy or 'halig', Holy. Giving a definition of a 'healthy' of 'holy' place
Another person seemed to think that Heald was pronounced 'hailed' in the 1500's, because they had 'studied' Middle English in high school, and had some so-called reference to the word 'Herald' as in Court Herald, etc, etc,etc.
Once again we have to look at the origin of a word. 'Herald' comes from the AS, 'here', Army and 'wald', strength or power, both of wich came from the Old High German, 'heri', army and 'waltan', govern, and the word orginally meant, one who held power in an army, a deputy. And again, the "Middle English' period was from 1350 to 1500, which was the language used by Chaucer, and influenced by the East Midland dialects.
Please do not copy this material for your own web site. This is from work I have done over the past 50 years.