This interesting name, with variant spellings Levers and Leaver, has three distinct possible origins. Firstly, it may derive from the old French "levre", a hare and originally given as a nickname to a fleet-footed person. Occasionally, Lever may be a shortened form of the Norman French "leve(i)er", a harrier or hunter of hares, Roger Leverier, (Cambridgeshire, 1230), being the earliest recorded bearer of the name in its full form. The name may also be topographical from residence by a patch of reedy ground.The derivation in this case is from the old English pre 7th Century "loefer", reed, rush or iris. Great and Little Lever in Lancashire are named with this word and the surname may also be locational from either of the above places. Finally, the old English personal name Leofhere, composed of the elements "leof", beloved, plus "here", army may be the source of the surname. Ralph Lever, Conon of Durham, 1567, wrote "The Arte of Reason", a treatises on logic, in 1573. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Dande de Lever, witness, which was dated 1246, "The Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 111, "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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