Found in the recorded surname spellings of Lovelace, Loveless, Lowless and Lowles, this very unusual surname is of Olde English pre 7th century origins. It derives from the words 'lufu' and 'leas' and the strict interpretation is 'free from love'. The medieval period in which almost all surnames were conceived, is studded with 'nicknames', and this is almost certainly one of them. The late Professor P H Reaney, probably the most famous English etymologist gives no explanation as to the true meaning, which suggests that by 20th century standards he may have found the meaning unacceptable! Our view is that the relative popularity of the surname and the fact that it was originally recorded in counties as far apart as Somerset, Kent, and Yorkshire, implies that the translation is simply 'one who had not yet found love', a bachelor, an unmarried person, perhaps one past the usual marrying age. The original early recordings are both female and male, and examples include William Luvelas in the rolls of St Gregory's Abbey, Kent, Albricus Loveles, in the 1275 Hundred Rolls of Leicestershire, John Lovelace in the 1367 charters of Kent, and Robert Lufeless in the Calverly, Yorkshire, rolls of the year 1445. Amongst the famous holders of the surname were Richard Lovelace, (1618 - 1658) known as the 'Cavaliers Poet' in the English Civil War of 1640 - 1660, whilst Francis Lovelace was Governor of New York in 1675. The original coat of arms granted in 1599 has the blazon of a red field, on a black chief indented, a silver knights spur. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edith Luvelece, which was dated 1243, who was a witness at the Somerset Assize Court, Taunton, 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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