This interesting surname has no less that four origins. Firstly, it can be a topographical name for someone who lived near a hill, deriving from the old English pre 7th Century "hlaw" meaning "hill" or "burial mound". Secondly, it may be a nickname for a short man, deriving from the middle English "lah", "low" or "short". Thirdly, ti may be a nickname for a crafty person deriving from the Anglo Norman French "lou", "leu" meaning "wolf" (from the Latin "lupus"). Finally, it may be a pet form of the personal name Lawrence, coming from the middle English and old French given name Lorens, Laurence, itself coming from the Latin Lurentius meaning "man from Laurentum", a town in Italy probably named from it's laurels or bay trees. The suffix "s" denotes "son of ". The surname dates back to the early 13th Century, (see below). Church recordings include one Elizabeth Lowes who married Thomas Cutler on January 31st 1563 at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London and Jane, daughter of John Lowes was christened on November 1st 1571 at St. Michael, Wood Street, London. One John Lows, aged 35 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the John-Ravenel bound for New York on April 20th 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Lu, which was dated 1207, The Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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