This surname LAYDON and its variants Leydon, Leyden, Liddane, all derive from the Irish O'Loideain, the name of a Connacht family, some of whose descendants, once concentrated in County Galway and County Mayo, have been dispersed southwards into County Clare as well as into other provinces. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. In England there is a place Liddon, a parish in County Kent, near Dover, from where, perhaps, the original bearer may have taken his name. There is also a spot in the West Country so called. Early records of the name mention John de Lyddone, who was documented in County Somerset, during the reign of Edward 111 (1327-1377), and Adam de Lyddone was recorded at the same time. John White and Johanna Lyden of Whitsam, County Kent, were married in Kent in the year 1543, and William Lyddon and Bessey Goldsmith were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year of 1800. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child.
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