This interesting surname is basically a locational name, and is from either of two sources. Firstly, it may be a habitation name from any of the various places in North France named with the Germanic element "lar", clearing. Secondly, it may be from Leire in Leicestershire, recorded as "Legre" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Leire" in the 1227 Episcopal Registers, which is apparently so called from an old British river name, which may be the base of the tribe-name "Ligore", found in Leicester. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. William de Leyre was noted in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Leicestershire. The suffix "-man" was added to surnames to indicate "man (servant) of Lear", or "man from Lear". In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Lereman, Leerman and Learman. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Asheston, son of Robart Lereman, at St. Andrew's, Holborn, London, on February 22nd 1578; the christening of Richard, son of Thomas Learman, on September 9th 1612, at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London; and the christening of Mary, daughter of Robert Learman, on January 29th 1739, at Sheriff Hutton, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thome Learman, which was dated January 21st 1571, witness at the christening of his daughter, Margaret, at Marske in Cleveland, Yorkshire, 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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