This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Ludlow, a market-town and parish on the River Teme, Shropshire. Recorded as "Ludelaue" in "Historia Anglorum", dated 1138, and as "Ludelawe" in the 1177 Pipe Rolls of the county, the name means "Hill by the rapid", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hlude", the loud one, referring to a rapid in the Teme, with "hlaw", hill, mound. ocational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Regional and dialectal influences subsequently produced several variations on the original spelling of the name which, in the modern idiom, is spelt: Ludlow, Ladlow, Ladloe, Laidlow, and Laidlaw. The latter two forms, now widespread in Scotland, are apparently locational in origin from the ancient place called Laidlaw(stiel), west of Galashiels in Selkirkshire; however, there is a strongly held tradition that the Laidlaws had their origin in Ludlow, Shropshire, and the first recording of the name in Scotland, i.e., William de Lodelawe (1296), supports this belief. On April 16th 1769, George, son of Edward Ladlow, was christened in Bag Enderby, Lincolnshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Ludelawa, which was dated 1182, in the "Pipe Rolls of Shropshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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