This is a most interesting surname is English, but despite its appearance, is we believe, originally of French origins. If it is pure English, then it is almost certainly residential for somebody who lived at a now "lost" village called "Leka-weg" or similar, although we have nor records of any such village. If Olde English the derivation is from the pre 7th century words "leka" - a lake, plus "weg" - a track. However our experience suggests something quite different. We believe that the name was the 16th and 17th century Huguenot refugee name Le Gay, meaning "light hearted". Although the name still occasionally exists in this spelling, long ago it was anglicised to Ledgey and Lidgey. Surnames were often changed by bad spelling or dialect, but this was changed because after centuries of war with France, it was not "politically correct" to have a French sounding name. Sometime around the Napoleonic Wars of 1794 - 1815 we believe that in Yorkshire the name was changed to Ledgeway. To illustrate the development, the first recording in England is that of Isaac Le Gay, at the French Church, Threadneedle Street, London, on March 26th 1632. By 1750 the spelling in London and other areas had often "changed". In Yorkshire for instance, a family called Legay were prominent in Kingston-upon-Hull, Anne Legay being recorded there on December 18th 1755, whilst a Joseph Ledgey was recorded at Warmfield, near Wakefield, in the same county on January 9th 1766. About 1819 a family called Ledgeway are suddenly recorded in Knaresborough. The parents were called Robert and Sarah Ledgeway, and between that year and 1833 they had five children, of whom the sons were Thomas, John and Richard. But whether they are related to the Legay's of Hull or the Ledgey's of Wakefield, or indeed come from some quite different source, is not known.
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