This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a dialectal variant of the locational name Langham, from places so called in Dorset, Norfolk, Leicestershire and Suffolk. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "lang, long", meaning long, and "ham", homestead. Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace.The earliest recordings of any of these placenames occurs in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Langham" (Suffolk), and "Langaham" (Norfolk), and later as "Langeham" in the 1157 Pipe Rolls of Dorset. Recordings from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Joan Lanning and Ambrow How in Marnhull, Dorset, on July 8th 1634, and the marriage of Robert Lanning and Elizabeth Bean in Stepney, London, on September 19th 1644. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rychard Lanyng, which was dated November 21st 1602, marriage to Elizabeth Eyres, at Lydlinch, Dorset, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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