Recorded in the modern spellings of Lehmann, Lehemann, and Lehenmann, this is a Germanic surname. It is generally considered to be occupational and to describe a small farmer, one who in ancient times before the 10th century a.d. held his land tenure in return for carrying out various works and duties on behalf of the local lord of the manor. In England he would have been known as a villein. This type of tenure was largely fazed out in most of Europe in the medieval period in return for "rent", although it remained part of Russian society until at least the 19th century.The surname is not surprisingly quite an early recording, with Johannes Lehenmann of Wolfach being recorded in the charters of that town in the year 1317, Berthold Leheman of Ulm, Switzerland, in 1365, and Heinrich Leeherre of Speyer in 1440. Over the centuries surname spellings have often changed with regularity, owing to a combination of changing dilalects and lack of education particularly at times when the continent was in upheaval with the regular wars usually between France, Spain and the Holy Roman (German) Empire between the 13th century upto the defeat of Napoleon in 1815.
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