This surname of LEONARD was a baptismal name 'the son of Lenard'. This well known English surname is used as an anglicized form of the Irish surnames Lennon, Lennane and Linneen. It is derived from the Gaelic O'Leannain. The Irish prefixes of Mac (son of) and O (grandson or descendant of) gave rise at an early date, to a set of fixed hereditary names in which the literal patronymic meaning was lost or obscured. These surnames originally signified membership of a clan, but with the passage of time, the clan system became less distinct, and surnames came to identify membership of what is called a 'sept' of people all living in the same locality, all bearing the same surname, but not necessarily descended from a common ancestor. Adoption of the name by people who did not otherwise have a surname and by their dependents was not uncommon. Later, nicknames were in some cases to supersede the original clan names.
The name was originally derived from the Old German Leonhard, meaning lion-bold, and was probably brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. This was not a common name in the middle ages, although many churches were dedicated to St. Leonard, the patron saint of captives. Early records of the name mention Stephenson Leonardus. 1221 County Worcestershire. Agnes Leonard, was documented in the year 1279 in County Huntingdonshire. John Lennard and Jane Binding (widow) were married in London in the year 1650 Thomas Rogers married Elizabeth Leonard at St. Antholin, London in 1738. George Leonard married Eleanor Martin, St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1791. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes Armory.
Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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