This name, with variant spellings Loan, Lane, Lain, Layne etc., has three distinct possible origins, the first and most likely being an English topographical name for one resident in a narrow pathway between fences or hedges, later used of any narrow passage including one between houses in a town. The derivation in this instance, is from the Old English pre 7th Century "lanu", (Medieval English "land"), a lane, and early recordings of the surname include: Osbertus in Lane, (Surrey, 1212); Adam Ithelane, (Bedfordshire, 1227), and Nicholas atte Lone, "Worcestershire, 1275), Lane may also have originated as a metonymic occupational name for a worker in wool, from the Old French "la(i)ne", (Latin "lana"), meaning wool, and finally Lane is an Anglicized form of two Gaelic Irish surnames O Laighin, (descendant of Laighean, a byname of the warrior). Sir Ralph Lane (deceased 1603) was the first governor of Virginia. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de la Lane, which was dated 1176, in the Pipe Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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