Recorded as Legg, Legge, and the patronymics Leggs, Legges, and perhaps Legis and Leggis, this most interesting and unusual name is English but perhaps with a dash of Viking and Norman. For origins it may derive from the Norse personal name "Leggr", although this is thought to be unlikely, or it may be of early medieval English from the word "legg", and probably used as a metonymic nickname for someone with long legs or who was a swift runner. In some instances the name may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, as a variant of Leigh, the name of many places in England. This is from the pre 7th century word "leah", meaning a clearing in a wood. Aedwardus Leg was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Northumberland in 1185, while John and Robert Legge were mentioned in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1327. Other examples from the city of London include Elizabeth Legh who married William Kinkley at St James Clerkenwell, on June 9th 1528, William Legg who married Margery Crosse on April 24th 1547 at St. Mary le Bow, and Ann Legges who married William White at St Botolphs Bishopgate, on February 29th 1655. George Legge (1648 - 1691), the first Baron Dartmouth, was a notable admiral and commander-in-chief of the fleet, whilst Christopher Legg, aged 19 years, was an early emigrant to the New World, having travelled to Virginia aboard the "Primrose" in July 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alueredus Leg. This was dated 1176, in the "Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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