Recorded as Leward, Luard, Livard, and Lyard, and possibly other forms, this is an English surname, although it can sometimes have French origins. If English it is truly ancient deriving from the pre 7th century personal name "Leofard" meaning, or at least translating as, "beloved guardian", and symbolic of an age where personal names, there were no surnames as we know them, reflected strength, hope, and authority, at a time when there was precious little of any of them! It is one of the names which survived the Norman Conquest of 1066, after which it became politically correct to adopt French or later Biblical names, rather than anything associated with Olde English or Anglo-Saxon. The French influence or origin is not however from Norman times, but much later when after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1678 many thousands of protestants were forced to flee France and many came to England. Amongst them was a Robert Luard from Caen, and from him it is said that those people so named in the county of Essex, are descended. The first know recording of the surname in any form is believed to be that of Nicholas Lefward of Worcester in the year 1212, whilst Peter Loward is recorded in the Subsidy Tax rolls of Surrey in 1332.
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