This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Ledwyche in Shropshire, now known as Lower and Upper Ledwyche. The original settlement was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Ledewic", and in 1155 as "Ledewich", while the 1242 Feet of Fines of the county refer to "Ledewiz". The placename is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hleda", seat, bench, or ledge, or from an Olde English personal name, "Leoda", with "wic", dairy-farm, dwelling-place, hamlet. The places are situated on Ledwyche Brook, and some authorities believe that the first element of the name is an ancient and now obscure stream-name. Locational surnames were acquired especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and who used the name of their birthplace as a means of identification. Recordings of the name from Church Registers include: the christening of John Ledwidge at St. Botolph Bishopsgate, London, on June 11th 1701, and that of Ellen, daughter of Christopher Ledwidge, in St. Helens, Lancashire, in April 1744. The surname Ledwidge or Ledwich has been found in Ireland since the beginning of the 13th Century, when a family of the name settled in County Meath: Edward, son of James Ledwidge, was christened on October 5th 1742, at St. Peter and St. Kevin, Dublin. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Ledewich, which was dated 1221, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Shropshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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