Recorded in over fifty different spellings from Lewis, Lois, Lowis and Loisi, to such as Ludovici, Lotze, Lohde, and Ludwikiewicz, tjroughout Europe this great and ancient name is generally accepted as deriving from the pre 7th century Old Frankish "Hludwig". This was a personal name composed of the elements "hlud", meaning loud or famous, plus "wig", battle, and was borne by the founder of the Frankish dynasty. He was recorded in Latin Chronicles as Ludovicus and Chlodovechus (the latter form becoming the Old French Clovis, Clouis, and later Louis). Louis the Pious, son of Charlemange, born in 778, was an early distinguished bearer of the forename. Lowis or Lewis is the Anglo-French form of the name, and Lowis le Briton was entered in "The Red Book of the Exchequer", Essex, in 1166. The surname first appears on record at the beginning of the 13th Century (see below). William Lewys was noted as a witness in the 1267 Fines Court Rolls of Suffolk. In Wales, Lewis is used as an Anglicization of the Old Welsh name Llywelyn, from "llyw", leader, and "eilyn", likeness. Llewelyn ap-Madoc, alias Lewis Rede, was archdeacon of Brecon, Wales, in 1437. One of the most natable bearers of the name was the American explorer Meriwether Lewis (1774 - 1807), who, with William Clark, led an overland expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean in the early years of the 19th Century. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Lowis, which was dated 1202, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216.
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