This very unusual surname recorded as Loud, Loude, and Lowde, is of Olde English origins. It derives from a pre 7th century word 'hlud', which was used both as a personal name, and as a descriptive topographical name as in the River Lud in Lincoln, which gave its name to the town of Louth. As the word 'hlud' does mean loud, it has to be presumed that when applied as a medieval nickname, as for instance to William Loud, recorded in the Fees Roll of the county of Devon in the year 1242, it did describe a 'loud' person, or possibly given the robust humour of the period, the reverse! One has to be extremely careful about applying 20th century meanings to 13th century descriptions.The surname was most definitely topographical with Robert de la Lude of Somerset in 1225, who clearly lived by something 'loud'. Richard de Luda in the London Rolls of 1319 originated from the town of Louth, as he is also recorded as Robert de Louthe in 1325. According to Ekwall's Dictionary of English Place Names, the baptismal name forms the prefix in the town names of Lowdham (Nottinghamshire) and Loudham (Suffolk), but it is more logical that these were settlements by 'loud' rivers. Examples of early recordings include Reginald Lude of Surrey in 1215, the year of Magna Carta, and Henry atte Lud of Worcester in the Subsidy Rolls of 1275. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Lud, which was dated 1221, in the Curia Regis rolls of the county of Devon, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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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