This very rare name, now found chiefly in Scotland, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a variant form of the locational surname deriving from the place called Lothersdale or Leatherdale in West Yorkshire, in the parish of Ripon. The placename is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Lodresdene", as "Loderesden" in the 1202 Yorkshire Feet of Fines, and as "Lothereston" in 1285. The name means "the vagabond's valley", derived rom the Olde English pre 7th Century "loddere", beggar, vagabond, and "denu", valley, this second element being later changed to the more usual northern "dale", influenced by the Old Scandinavian "dal(r)", valley, a commonly found element in areas of Scandinavian settlement, such as Yorkshire and Lancashire. Locational surnames were used particularly as a means of identification by those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. In this instance, the variant forms include Le(a)therdale, Litherdale, Lotherdale, Le(a)therday, Lethardy and Letherdy. Examples of the surname from Scottish Church Registers include: the marriage of James Leatherday and Marry Brown at Kilmalcolm, Renfrewshire, on November 26th 1818, and the marriage of Thomas Lethardy and Agnes Findlay on December 27th 1850, in Riccarton, Ayrshire. Thomas and Agnes' children were christened in various forms of the name: George Letherday (1851); Elisabeth Lethardy (1853); and Mary Letharday (1855). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Francis Litherdale, which was dated October 19th 1589, christened at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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