This interesting surname is English, but arguably of pre 7th century Old Norse origins. It is a locational name from any of the various places in the county of Yorkshire named with the word "lotht", meaning an upper floor, and "hus", a house. These places include: Loftus in North Yorkshire; Lofthouse near Wakefield in West Yorkshire, and Loftsome on the river Derwent in East Yorkshire. Houses built with an upper floor (which was normally used for storage of produce during the winter) were rare amongst the ordinary people of the Middle Ages, and consequently such an unusual feature would have provided an obvious and convenient means of identification. Early examples of the surname include: Ralph de Loftus; John del Lofthouse and Robertus Lofthouse all of Yorkshire, in the years 1219, 1365 and 1379, respectively, whilst Robert Lofthouse of Lyndene, in Scotland, was convicted of concealing certain "paise penneis" or English gold coins in 1502. He was the earliest recorded bearer of the name in that country. A coat of arms granted to the family has the blazon of a black shield charged with a chevron engrailed between three silver trefoils slipped. The creat is a spur between two wings proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter de Lofthusum. This was was dated 1166, in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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