Last name: Lawson
This is a surname of truly ancient origins. It originates in the Holy Land in so far as the etymology of the surname is concerned, being 'brought back' to England and Scotland as 'Lawrence' by the 12th century crusaders. In its earliest form as 'Law', it was a nickname of endearment, and as such had great popularity in the medieval period. The earliest origination of the name at all is pre-Christian, being derived from Laurentum, the town in Italy famous for its laurel trees. For reasons unclear, Lawson is very much a north country surname. There are no less than seventeen coats of arms, all but one were granted to northern nameholders, and all seem to be associated with the Lawson family of Brough Hall, Yorkshire, whose origins are traceable back to the time of Richard 111, and 'The War of the Roses'. Their coat of arms, which is believed to be the original grant, has the blazon of a silver field, charged with a chevron between three martlets, all black. These arms suggest a loyal person who lived by the sword, having no estates to support him. However as in later years the family addresses included Nesham Abbey, Durham, Longhirst in Cumberland, Boroughbridge Hall, Cairnmuir in Peebles, Scotland, etc, one has to assume that the family fortunes improved over the centuries. Early recordings include Henry Laweson in the Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire for the year 1379, whilst one of the very earliest settlers into the New American colony of Virginia Christopher Lawson, recorded as 'living at James Cittie' in that state, on February 23rd 1624. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Lawisson, which was dated 1327, in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Cumberland, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as 'The father of the Navy', 1327 -1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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