Recorded as Leader and Leeder, this is an English medieval surname. It is occupational, and another name for a carter, one who "led" a horse and cart from one place to another. The derivation is from the pre 7th Century word "laedere", and in its original sense described "a man who has to do with leading". In the Middle Ages the particular commodity carried was often named as in the recordings of William Waterlader of Warwickshire in 1177, and presumbly a fresh water carrier, whilst Laurence le Maltlader of Hertfordshire in 1294, supplied the brewery trade. A reference is made in "Liber Niger Regis" of 1461 to an ordinance commanding that no seller of wheat for the use of the King's house "be compelled to lede or carrye his wheefe", more than ten miles at his own cost. Other recordings include Henry le Leeder of Suffolk in the Pinchbeck Register of 1328, whilst in 1519, Richard Ledar was the rector of Fouldon, in the county of Norfolk. Occasionally "ledar" may have been used to denote someone who led sport or dance as in Richard Pleyledere and Dawnceleder of Somerset, in the Subsidy Tax rolls of 1327. A coat of arms granted to Sir Oliver Leader in the reign of Henry V111 (1509 - 1547), is described thus: "Gold, on a fess between three ogresses sable, each charged with an escallop argent, a lion's head erased between two boars' heads couped of the field, a bordure engrailed azure". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Ledere. This was dated 1243, in the Assize Court Rolls of Durham, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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