Recorded many spellings including Lawtie, Lawtey, Lattaty Latty, Laity, Laitie, Lattie, Latey, Lattee, Latia, and no doubt others, this is a Northern English and Scottish surname. It is locational either from an estate known as The lands of Laithis in Ayrshire, Scotland, or from Laithes, a hamlet north west of Penrith in Cumberland, England. Both places derive from the Norse word "hlatha", meaning a lathe or barn. It is also possible although not proven, that the surname could be residential and mean "by the barns" as in Gilbert del Lathes recorded in the register of the Freemen of the City of York, dated 1296, and Adam del Laythes, recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland in 1332. In Scotland the first recording is believed to be that of Thomas Lathais of the Ilk, a minor nobleman, in the year 1350, whilst James Lawtie was a member of the Scots parliament for Cullen in 1628. Recordings from church registers include the marriage of John Lataye and Jane Gowland on September 27th 1708, at Bishopswearmouth, Durham; and the marriage of Jane Laity or Laitie, at the Fleet Chapel, in the city of London, on October 7th 1728. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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