This is one of the many examples of a surname developing from a personal name. In this case, it is the patronymic (son of) form of the name Lawrence, which evolved from the Latin "Laurentius" through to the Old French and Olde English "Lorens" and "Laurentum". The name means "man from Laurentuni", a town in Italy probably named for its laurel trees, laurels being the symbol of victory. The name Laurentius was borne by a saint who was martyred at Rome in the 3rd Century A.D., with the consequential popularity of the given name, but the first recording of the spelling Lawrence did not appear until 1629. In the modern idiom, the variants include Larenson, Lawrenceson, Lawranson and Lawrinson. Two early records of the name in London are of one William Lawrenson, the infant son of Joseph Lawrenson, who was christened on December 27th 1587, at St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, and one Thomas Lawrenson, who married Thomasin Trew on July 22nd 1582, at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Magister Laurentius, which was dated 1150, in the "Episcopal Records of Glasgow", during the reign of King David 1 of Scotland, 1124 - 1153. 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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