Recorded as Le Lievre, Le Lievere, Le Livre, Lelievre and possibly others, this is a surname of French medieval origins. It was almost certainly introduced into England in the 17th century, as a Huguenot protestant surname, the name holder probably having fled France following persecution by the Catholic majority. The name means "The hare," and was originally a medieval occupational surname or possibly a nickname for a messenger, or at least a very fast runner. In the early days of surnames from about the 12th century a.d., occupational surnames did not usually become hereditary unless a son followed a father into the same line of business. Many did not and then the name died out until revived probably by an entirely different family. The Huguenots had the protestant work ethic, many were highly skilled in textile manufacture, early engineering, and the military. Over a period of nearly one hundred and fifty years, these people contributed hugely to the success of Britain as the world leader. The first known recording in England is that of Frances Le Lievere who married Daniel Merrau at the church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on January 21st 1627.
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