This surname of LENT is the Prussian form of Lawrence which was a baptismal name 'the son of Lawrence' an ancient and still popular personal name. The name was borne by a saint who was martyred at Rome in the 3rd century AD; he enjoyed considerable cult throughout Europe, with the consequent popularity of the given name. Sir Robert Lawrence of Aston Hall, County Lancashire, accompanied Richard I (1188-1199) to the Holy Land. The name is also spelt LENZ, LENTE and Van LENT. The name arrived early into England and Gilbert Laueronce, was documented in County Cambridge, in the year 1273, and John filius Laurence, ibid. James Lawrence of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Nicholas Lawrence of Poynton, County Chester, was listed in the Wills at Chester in the year 1545. A notable member of the name was Jakob Michael Reinhold LENZ (1751-92) the German author, born in Livonia. He was one of the young authors who surrounded Goethe in Strasbourg. He was a fervant admirer of Shakespeare, and this was expressed in his 'Anmerkungen ubers Theater' which was published in 1774. He was a gifted writer of lyrics. The name was in Scotland early and Magister Laurentius, a cleric, was a charter witness in Elgin, circa, 1150. Laurentius (without surname) was archdeacon of Brechin in the year 1368. John Lourance was the burgess of Aberdeen in 1541, and John Lourance was a notary public in Duns in 1663.
It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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