Last name: Law
Recorded in the spellings of Law, Laws and Lawes, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname. It originates from the Northern Medieval English word "law", itself from the Old English "hlaw", usually describing a burial ground or a distinctive hillock or mound, and as such was probably given as a topographical surname to a person who was resident by such a feature. The surname is also widespread in Scotland where there are ten or more places named with the above element, and consequently the surname may be locational as well as topographic in origin. Early examples of recordings include William de Lawe of the county of Essex in 1229; William Law of Cambridgeshire in 1279 and Hugh del Lawe of Yorkshire in 1309. Robert de Lawe of Scotland, was granted a safe conduct to pass through England on his return from Spain in 1428, and in 1488 James of Law was noted in the records of the burgh of Prestwick. Henry Lawes (1596 - 1662) a notable musician, was a gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1626, and a composer of note. His brother William Lawes, also a musical composer, lost his life fighting for the royalists against the Parliamentarians at the siege of Chester in 1645. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de la Law. This was dated 1208, in the Curia Regis Rolls of the county of Worcestershire, during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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