This interesting Irish "clan" surname derives from the Olde Gaelic "O'Leahtobhair", and is often confused with "Lawler", a name which almost certainly has a different origin. Lawlor derives from "Laloir", the most ancient anglicised form, and as such the Clan were prominent landowners in County Leix. In the late 16th century an alliance between the O'Dempseys and some English settlers led to the destruction of the "Lawlors" and their kinsmen the O'Mores, the surviving chiefs being driven out to Kerry, although the names Lawlor and Lalor are still common in Leix in the 20th century. The name means "The descendant of the sick one", which seems a strange etymology for a warlike clan, and may originally have had another meaning entirely. The epicentre of the name is the famous Rock of Dunamase, County Leix. However, in England it is possible that some "Lawlors" derive from the Huguenot (French) "Laulloir", which has almost exactly the same English pronunciation, an example being Pierre Laulloir, a witness at the French Huguenot Church, Threadneedle Street, London on August 28th 1703. As Lawlor the first recording is that of Dennis Lawlor, a witness at St. Anne's Church, Soho, Westminster on February 14th 1719. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Harry Lalor, which was dated 1577, recorded as the hero of the massacre of Mullaghmar, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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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