Names constructed with two apparently topographical elements have to be treated with considerable caution, and no more so than with this particular name. It is our opinion that 'Langhorn(e) and Longhorn(e)' are locational from a now 'lost' medieval village in Cumberland. However the name as 'Langthorne' and slightly later 'Longthorn(e) is an early recording in Norfolk but again no such place has been found. Some five thousand British surnames derive from 'lost' medieval villages, the question is are the origins of this name in all its different spelling the same. Frankly we do not know for certain, but what we do know is that 'lang horna' in Olde English usually described a long straight spur of land, but we have no locational evidence to support this premise. 'Long thorn' is illogical even in its possible original Olde English 'lang-porn' unless it is a short form of a compound describing residence at a 'long (field) where thorns grew'. A final possibility is that the name was originally like Longstaff and Shakespeare, a personal nickname, probably of 'Chaucerian' origins! The early recordings are from the east coat of England, and these include William Langhorne of Cumberland, in the 1582 register for Oxford University, John Longhorne at St Mary Whitechapel, London, on July 26th 1629, Wylly Longthorn of Norwich on April 2nd 1632, and George Longhorn, christened at St Sepluchre Church, London, on June 18th 1667. Richard Longthorne (also recorded as Langhorne) was executed for his part in the 'Popish plot' of 1679, although it is almost certain that he was an innocent victim. The coat of arms was granted in Bedford in 1610. The blazon is a black field, charged with a silver cross, on a chief in silver, three buglehorns of the field, stringed red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Kathryn Langthorne, which was dated February 4th 1567, christened at Attleborough, Norfolk, 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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