There are a number of English surnames including Leathby, Lethby, Lethbury, Leatherby, Letherby, Lithby, Lithaby, and probably Leathbarrow, Leatherbury and Letherbury, all of whom may well have the same source and origin. If so this was a 'lost' medieval village probably in Cumbria, although other areas do have unproven claims. The meaning is probably the 'people's burial ground' from the pre 7th century Olde English 'leode-burh', and apparently there was such a hill named Leatherbarrow near Lake Windermere. The problem with locational or residential surnames is that they are or were usually 'from' names. That is to say names given as easy identification to a stranger, after he or sometimes she, had left their original homes to move somewhere else. In so doing they took or were given as their surname, the name of their former home. Spelling over the centuries being at best indifferent, and local dialects very thick, often lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings, or sometimes barely recognizeable forms of original spellings. In this case an examination of the gazetters of the country going back at least three cernturies has failed to identify an existing site in any of the known surname spellings. Early examples of the surname recording include Nicholas Lethborowe in the register of students of Oxford University in 1581, Richard Lethbury at St James Clerkenwell in the city of London in 1626, and Henry Lethby or Letheby at St Georges Chapel, Mayfair, Westminster on February 17th 1754.
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