This long-established and interesting surname is a medieval Scottish variant of the English occupational name Leachman or Leechman, itself of Anglo-Saxon origin, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "laece", leech, and "mann", man; hence, "the leechman", an archaic word for "physician". In medieval times, the practice of applying leeches to suck the blood (of a person) as a method of medical treatment, was idespread, and consequently the occupation of Leechman was both important and widely distributed. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. One Andrew Lacheman was recorded in the 1210 Curia Regis Rolls of Yorkshire, and a William Lachman appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk, dated 1327. The Scottish form of the name is first recorded in the early 15th Century (see below), and in his work, "The Surnames of Scotland", George, F. Black states that "the chief cradle of the L(e)ishmans is around Falkirk (Stirlingshire), where the name occurs with a frequency bewildering to the record searcher". Mychell Leisman was recorded in Carnwath in 1529, and in 1550, John Leishman was burgess of Stirling. On August 7th 1698, David, son of John Lishman and Agnes Dundee, was christened at Falkirk, Stirlingshire, and on April 30th 1706, Alexander, son of Andrew and Janet Lishman, was also christened at Falkirk. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Leisman or Lescheman, burgess of Glasgow, which was dated 1435, in "Medieval Registers of Glasgow", Scotland, during the reign of King James 1 of Scotland, 1406 - 1437. 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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