Recorded as Leadward and Ledward, this is quite a rare English surname which apparently derives from an original old English pre 7th century word ''ward'' meaning watch-keeper or look-out. After the Invasion of England by the Norman-French in 1066, Ward was sometimes conjoined with the French ''le'' to create ''Le Ward'' or ''The watch keeper'' and later Leward(e). Watch keepers later known simply as ''The Watch,'' were for many centuries the only official non-military lawmen that guarded local communities from a city down to a village, provided they paid. In 1840 Sir Robert Peel introduced the concept of a national police force for the whole of the British Isles, where everybody paid through their taxes for ''protection'' an idea that was rapidly copied in almost every country in the world - with, it must be said, varying degrees of success! The first recording of this surname in any spelling may be that of Simon le Ward in the county tax rolls of Bedfordshire in the year 1279, whilst Peter Lewarde is recorded in Westminster, city of London, in 1578. As to when the intrusive ''d'' first appears is uncertain, but from the known records - later. Nor is it certain whether the ''new'' spelling was simply dialectual, Leadward perhaps being easier to pronounce than Leward, or job descriptive, and if so used to describe a man specifically employed to guard ''lead''. This seems a bit far fetched if only because whilst lead was an expensive commodity, it was by no means as expensive as (say) gold or silver, or at one time coal. None of these generated job descriptive ''guard'' surnames. Examples of recordings from surviving English church registers include Ellen Leadward baptised at the Parish Church, Warrington, Cheshire, on July 7th, 1736. Slightly earlier we have Jane Ledward who married John Wilkinson at the famous church of St. Dunstans in the East, Stepney, London, on July 7th 1728. This was in the first year of the reign of King George IInd of England, known as ''The Last Warrior King'' 1727-1760. He was the last British monarch to personally lead his troops into battle (against the French) at Fontenoy, in 1743. 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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