We were satisfied in our initial research that this surname was of French origins, and in a sense it is! It may be a development of the Olde French 'Lievre', itself a development of the original German 'Lieber' and translating as 'the hard one'. As such it was baptismal, pre 10th century a.d., and introduced into Britain by the Huguenot refugees fleeing the Catholic French savagery of Louis X1V after 1685. Certainly there are a number of recordings which lead to that hypothesis, including Elie Lievre, the daughter of Pierre Lievre, christened at 'The Artillery' French Huguenot Church, London on November 11th 1722. A further example is Ann Leivers who married Robert Foot at St Benets Church, Pauls Wharf, London on November 17th 1734. However further research suggests that this Ann Leivers may have been christened Ann Leaver at St Andrews Church, Holborn on July 12th 1714, in which case 'Leivers' is simply a dialectal spelling error. That in fact 'Leivers' is a patronymic form of the medieval French 'Levre' (a nickname for a fast runner or messenger) from the Olde English 'Leveret' - a young hare, is probably confirmed by the earlier recording of Thomas Leevers, at St James Church, Clerkenwell, on October 26th 1583, in the reign of the first Elizabeth. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Le Levere, which was dated 1296, The Hundred Rolls of Leicestershire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as 'The hammer of the Scots'. 1272 - 1307. 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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