This uncommon surname is a variant of the more familiar Larrat, itself a diminutive either of the male given name Laurence, or its female equivalent Laur(a). Found as "Lorens" and "Laurence" in the Middle English and Old French, the name derives ultimately from the Latin "Laurentius", "man from Laurentum", a town in Italy probably named from its laurels or bay trees. The popularity of the male given name in Europe was largely due to St. Laurence, a 3rd Century Roman martyr; however, like most Latin names, Laurence was rare in England before the Norman Conquest of 1066. Laura also comes from the Latin word for "laurel" or "bay-tree", emblem of victory and poetic inspiration, the most celebrated bearer of this name being the lady to whom Petrarch addressed his sonnets, circa 1327. The surname Larrad occurs in English Church Registers under the variant spellings Larrat(t), Larret(t), Lauret, Lared and Lorait, the last mentioned form having been introduced by French Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution in their own country. On March 23rd 1672, Elizabeth, daughter of William Larrad, was christened at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Larrad family is a shield divided per pale silver and gold with a blue chevron between three black escallops in the silver part; on a blue chief three silver wolves' heads. A red chevron, with two black martlets in chief and a green pine tree in base, is depicted on the gold section. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Laryot, which was dated 1524, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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