This interesting surname is a habitational name from "Lansdowne", a level tract of country in Bath, Somerset, called "Lantesdune" in early records, from the Old English "langet", a long strip of ground, a long ridge, and "dun", a low hill (common element in placenames, of Celtic origin). The placename is recorded as "Lantesdunne ecge" in the "Two Chartularies of Bath Priory" (circa 1067). "Latneston" and "Launtesdon" in the "Close Rolls" (1228 and 1230 respectively), and as "Lawntesdon" in the "Charter Rolls" (1228). A battle was fought here in 1643, between Charles 1 and the parliamentary forces. The first recording of the surname dates from the 14th Century, (see below). The earliest recording of the surname in Kent is on May 7th 1574, when one Anne Lansdowne is entered as being christened at St. Alphege, Canterbury. Thomas Lansdowne was christened at St. Alphege on September 30th 1576. The name first appears in London in the Church register for St. Mary Mounthaw, when a Nicholar Lansdowne is recorded as having married Alice Rawlings on January 4th 1621. George Grenville was created first Baron Lansdowne in 1667, and William Petty was given the title Marquise of Lansdowne in 1737. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jacob de Launtesdoune, which was dated 1328, in the Kirby's Quest for Somerset, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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