This is a surname of French medieval origins. Perhaps not surprisingly given its basic complexity, it is recorded in many spelling forms including, Lathleiff, Lathlieff, Latlief, Lethlean, and Lethlein, which are topographical and Lathleiffur, Lathleiffure, and Lethieulier, which are job descriptive. However spelt the surname originates from the ancient word "tilleul" meaning lime, and describes either a person who lives at a place where lime trees were grown, or as an occupational name one who grew or distributed limes or lime juice. In medieval times the growing of limes was regarded as a critical part of the diet of people on the continental, as it was recognized that the juice from these fruits was herbalistic, and prevented many of the common illness of the period. As it happens a general diet which contained more fruit and vegatables than was usual at the time, would have had the same effect. The appearance of the surname in England, coincided with what is now known as the Huguenot Period from about the year 1580 to 1750. In this time over one hundred thousand protestants or Huguenots fled from France, and over half are estimated to have come to Britain. The makjority of these people were highly skilled artisans as well as members of the military, and their arrival greatly facilitated the growth of the Industrial Revolution which gave Britain its world trade supremacy for nearly two centuries. Examples of the surname recordings taken from early surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Jean Lethieulier at the French Huguenot church, Threadneedle Street, in the city of London, on February 29th 1688, John Lathlieff at the church of St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, on Boxing Day, 1813, and Francois Lathlieff, also at the French Church, Threadneedle Street, on March 16th 1828.
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