Recorded as Lovelace, Loveless, Lowless, Lowls and Lowles, this is an English surname, whose origin and meaning is open to some conjecture. It is certainly one of a diminishing group that originate from a medieval phrase or expression describing some attribute or otherwise, of the nameholder. In this case the derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century elements "lufa" meaning love, and "leas" meaning without, to give "without love". The more literal description would seem to be "fancy free", in which case if this was a permanent state it seems strange that the surname should have ever become hereditary! The surname is first recorded in the 13th century, and the alternate spellings over the centuries have included Albricus Loveles in the Friary Rolls of Leicester in 1251, and John Lovelace in the county of Kent in 1344. The substitution of "w" for "ve" is later, and relates to the period between about 1550 and 1700 when the current dialects and spellings were adopted. In this respect recordings from the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Thomas Lowles who married Margarite Godby at St. Olaves, Hart Street, on August 4th 1573, and Joseph Lowless, christened at St Alban's, Wood Street, on February 16th 1800. The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of Edith Luvelece. This was dated 1243, in the Assize Court Rolls of the county of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry IIIrd of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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