This interesting name, with variant spellings Leyre, Leare, and Le(e)re, is of English locational origin from a place in Leicestershire called Leire. Recorded as Legre in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Leire in the 1227, Episcopal Registers of that county and as Leyre in the 1242, Fine Court Rolls, the name derives from Legra, an Olde British river name, and is first recorded as a surname in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below). One, William de (of) Leyre appears in Records of London city, dated 1292. On December 15th 1552, Elizabeth Lear an infant was christened in St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, London and on November 9th 1583, Stephen Leare and Joan Merrimas were married in Knossington, Leicestershire. Edward Lear, (1812 - 1888) was an artist and author who gave lessons in drawing to Queen Victoria and published his "Book of Nonsense" in 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Leyre, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Leicestershire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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