The surname of LYONS was a baptismal name 'the son of Leonne'. (The Lion of the tribe of Judah). This name was borne by numerous early martys and thirteen popes. On the continent the given name was relatively popular because of the numerous saints who bore it, and also because the lion was the symbol of the evangelist St. Mark. In England, however, it was rare throughout the Middle Ages. Early records of the name mention Judaeus Leo of the County of Lincolnshire in 1273. Roger de Lyons of the County of Wiltshire in 1273. John Leon of the County of Oxfordshire in 1273. Henry de Lyons of the County of Sussex in 1296. This was also a locational name 'of Lyons', this must be from Lyons-la-Foret (Eure). The acquisition of surnames in Europe during the past eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, naming practices in neighbouring cultures, and indigenous cultural tradition. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another reliably and unambiguously. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
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