This rare and interesting name is of Welsh origin and is the Anglicization of a Welsh locational name Llanfair, from a place so called near Harlech in Wales, or from various places which are named with this element. The derivation is from the Old Welsh "lawn", with the Welsh development "llan", meaning a church, with possibly the Old English "farger", meaning fair, although it is also thought to mean the church of St. Mary. During the Middle Ages it became customary for people to migrate from their birth place, generally to seek work elsewhere, and they would often adopt the placename as a means of identification. One, Joseph Lanphier was christened on May 25th 1740 at Shifnal, Shropshire, and at St. Katherine-by-the-Tower, London, William Lanphier was christened on February 11th 1749. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anne Lanfere (marriage to Giles Eden), which was dated May 6th 1593, St. Mary Woolchurch, Haw, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "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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