This is a surname which is almost certainly of Olde English pre 7th century origins, although there is a possible Gaelic (Scottish) connection as well. It derives from the baptismal given name "Lefwine", originally composed of the ancient elements "leof" meaning dear or beloved, and "-wine", a close friend. This surname is one of the few survivors of the days of England before the Norman Conquest of 1066. Thereafter it became poilitcially correct to adopt French names, or from the 12th century Christian names, following the famous Crusades of the period,. In consequence names such as this only survived in the places which were usually outside the mainstream of society. It is however one of the earliest ever recorded with Wilfricus filius Leofwini appearing in the Old English Bynames Register for the year 1010. This was not however a hereditary surname, as these did not become acceptable for a further three hundred years. It is also claimed that this surname may also be derived from the Gaelic patronymic Mac giolla Giullin, meaning the son of the servant of William. However as William was not a name used in the British Isles before 1066, this seems unlikely. The modern spellings include Lewins, Lewen, Levin, Leven, Livens, and Levens. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Lewyn, which was dated 1230, in the "Northamptonshire Register", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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