Recorded in many spellings as shown below, this surname is either English, Manx or Ashkenasic Hebrew. It has three possible origins. The first is derived from the pre 7th century Old English personal or given name Leofwine. This is composed of the elements 'leof' meaning dear or beloved, and 'wine', a friend, to give 'Beloved friend'. As such it is one of the very earliest of all names to be recorded anywhere, with that of Wilfricus filius Leofwini in the Old English Bynames Register for the year 1010 a.d.. Secondly the name may be Manx, and a fused form of the early Gaelic patronymic Mac giolla Giullin, meaning the male descendant of the servant of William. Thirdly it may be Jewish and a derivative of Levi, a personal name which has the unusual meaning of 'joining'. The modern spelling of the surname includes Lewin, Lewins, Lewen, Levin, Levine, Leven, Livens, and Levens. Early examples of recordings taken from surviving registers include Hugo Levine in the Patent Rolls of Lancashire in 1232, William Lowen in the Hundred Rolls of Suffolk in 1275, and Elonor Lewen who was born at Kirk Michael, in the Isle of Man in 1660. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is believed to be Iwanus Lofwini, a Latinized spelling in the tax rolls known as the Fees, for the year 1212. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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