There are three possible sources of this picturesque and interesting surname which is a variant of the name Light, of Medieval English origin. Firstly, it may be either a nickname for a happy, cheerful person, and is a derivation of the Old English pre 7th Century "leoht", the Middle English "lyght", meaning light, or bright, or a nickname for someone who was busy and active, from the Old English "lioht", the Middle English "lyght", nimble, quick. These two words were originally distinct but became confused. It is also possible that this name is topographical for a dweller in a light place or glade, with the same derivation as before. Amongst the sample recordings in London is the christening of Alexander Lighman on July 23rd 1559 at St. Vedas, and St. Michaels London, and the marriage of Elizabeth Lightman and Thomas Antony on February 27th 1576 at St. Andrew's, Enfield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Leht, which was dated 1275, The Hundred Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King Edward 1, "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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