This very interesting surname is a derived form of the Germanic pre 7th century 'Leonhard'. This is a compound consisting of the elements 'Leon' (lion) and 'hard' (brave), an interpretation which no doubt contributed to its considerable popularity as a baptismal name. Certainly as 'Leonard' the name both as a medieval 'christian' name and the later surname is well recorded in slightly different spellings in every country in Europe from the 12th century onwards. It has been suggested that 'Linnard' itself is of directly German origins (rather than an English dialectal of Leonard), and this may well be true. If this is the case then Linnard is almost certainly of Huguenot origins. The Huguenots, the protestant refugees of the (mainly) seventeenth and eighteenth centuries fled from all parts of Europe, although the greatest influx was from France. If the foregoing is correct the present name holders probably derive from one Aron Lienard, recorded at the French Huguenot Church, Threadneedle Street, London on February 29th 1680. By February 16th 1778, the spelling seems to have transposed to Linnard, Moyses Linnard marrying Margarita Mahony at Lincolns Inn Fields Roman Catholic Church, London, thereby completing a return to the original religion, or so it would seem. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Leonard, which was dated 1279, The Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire, England, 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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