Recorded as Leppard, Leopard, Leophard, Leppert, and Lippard, this is an Anglo-French surname. It is Medieval and derives from the French word 'leopard', and ultimately from the Roman (Latin) "leopardus", a compound of "leo", a lion, and "pardus", a panther. Originally given as a nickname to one who was thought to bear a fancied resemblance to the animal, (perhaps a swift and powerful runner), the surname was first recorded in England in the latter part of the 13th Cenrury (see below). Early examples of the recording include William Lepard the Tax Subsidy Rolls of the county of Sussex, dated 1296, and Reginald Leopard in the Close Rolls of the city of London in the year 1300. It is likely that the spelling as Lepard, Leppard, and Lippard originated from a single family in Sussex, as examples taken from the church registers of that county include William Leppard and Mercye Scarce who were married at Wivelsfield on June 24th 1593, and on August 25th 1611, John Lippard, was christened at the village of Arlington. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Lyppard. This was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 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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