Found in the recorded spellings of Lorrain, Lorraine, Lorain(e) and Lorne this picturesque surname is regarded today as being Scottish, although curiously the form as Loraine would seem to be English and North Country. Clearly the original nameholders though were either French, or possibly were associated with weaving a particular type of cloth in the style of the Flemish Weavers, with whom they are believed to have been closely associated. Either way the name has been prominent in both Scotland and Northern England from the 14th century, long enough to have lost any Gallic ancestry. In the way of such regional surnames, it is also recorded in France in the same spellings. Examples of the early surname recordings include Roger Lohering, a juror on a Scottish inquest in 1244 which enquired into the activities of certain Scottish knights accused of piracy in the Irish Sea, whilst in 1333, King Edward 111 of England appointed Eustace de Lorreyne to survey the Castle of Berwick. In 1354 James de Lorreyne was a charter witness in Kelso, and certainly at this period in history the 'Lor(r)aines' seem to be camped equally on each side of the border. What is known with some certainty is that William Loraine was granted arms by King Henry 1V of England (1399 - 1413), and these arms were, Quarterly sable and argent, a plain cross counterchanged, and it is believed that this particular knight was resident in Durham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Loren, which was dated 1233, a charter witness in Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. 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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