This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place probably situated in Oxfordshire, called Lanchbury. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared since the 12th Century, due to such natural causes as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, and to the widespread practice of nforced "clearing" and enclosure of rural lands for sheep pastures from the 15th Century onwards. The placename is composed of the first element "Wlenca", a personal name derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wlanc", proud, and the second element "-burg", a fort, town; hence, "Wlenca's fort". In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Lanchbury, Lanchburie, Launchbury and Lanchbery, the latter being a later development. Recordings from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Ursula Lanchbury and Thomas Perssite in 1589, at Charlbury, Oxfordshire; the christening of Mary, daughter of Joseph and Mary Lanchbery, on June 5th 1803, at St. Andrew's, Holborn, London; and the marriage of Louisa Lanchbery and Frederick Tuck on May 13th 1833, at St. Ann's, Soho, Westminster, also in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizens Lanchburie, which was dated 1584, marriage to Margaret Warn, at Charlbury, Oxfordshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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