Recorded in various spellings including La Leu, Le Leu, Leleu, and Leu, this is a surname of French origins. It is however one which has been long recorded in England, being one of the very first of Huguenot Protestant immigrant names of the 17th century, and earlier. It has two possible derivations, being either from the pre 10th century Old French word "loup" meaning wolf, and hence a nickname for a person considered to have the proud and ferocious characteristics of this animal, or and a more likely explanation, it is a saints name, being in honour of St. Leu, a 3rd century Christian martyr, who was much revered over the centuries. French church register recordings are usually later and more erratic than those in Britain. The majority it is said, were destroyed during the famous Revolution of 1789 - 1794, when such records were considered to be instruments of the feared secret police of the monarchy, and hence burnt on sight. In this case we have very early recordings from England, with examples at random being Jan Le Leu, a witness at the famous French Huguenot church in Threadneedle Street, in the city of London, on January 1st 1607, and Samuel Leleu at the same church on December 18th 1687. In France itself as an example, we have the recording of Jean Le Leue at Blanchfosse in the Ardennes, on February 2nd 1717.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017