This interesting surname derives from the male given name Lawrence, originally the Latin "Laurentius", from Laurentium, the "city of laurels", in Italy. The idea of the laurel as a symbol of victory was probably the principal reason for the popularity of the name. Among Christians it became a favourite name through St. Laurence, Archdeacon of Rome in the mid 3rd Century, who was martyred under Valerian in 258 A.D., and the church of Edzel in Scotland is dedicated to him. There is only one example of the name in the Domesday Book of 1086; however, a century later, the name became popular, giving us clearly recognisable modern surnames, such as Lawrence, Laurence and Lawrance and such variants as Laurie and Lowrie. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of Ann, daughter of William Lawrence, on January 12th 1555, at St. Pancras', Soper Lane; the marriage of William Lawrence and Elizabeth White in July 1556, at St. Lawrence Jewry and St. Mary Magdalene, Milk Street; and the christening of Matthew, son of Thomas Lawrance, on March 25th 1610, at St. James' Clerkenwell. Henry Lawrance was a landowner in the parish of St. James', the Barbadoes, according to records dated December 20th 1679. A Coat of Arms was granted to a Lawrance family at Foxhall in Gloucestershire, which depicts a red cross raguly and in the first quarter a red lion passant on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Magister Laurentius, a cleric, which was dated circa 1150, in the "Episcopal Records of Glasgow", Scotland, 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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