This surname of LEDGERWOOD was derived from the Old German LEODEGAR - meaning people spear', common throughout France and Normandy through the memory of St. Leger, a 7th century bishop. Early records of the name mention Leodegar of the County of Hampshire in 1192. Leodegarns de Dive of the County of Northamptonshire in 1212. William Leger of the County of Cambridgeshire in 1279. During the 17th century surnames were brought to Britain, North America and southern Africa by French Huguenot exiles. The Huguenots were French Protestants, and in 1572 large numbers of them were massacred in Paris on the orders of Queen Catherine de'Medici. Many of the survivors sought refuge in England and elsewhere. Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. It was then the trickle of emigration became a flood. Many migrated to England, while others joined groups of Dutch Protestants settling around the Cape of Good Hope. Others sailed across the Atlantic to establish themselves in North America. The name is also spelt LEGER, LEATHER, LEATHERWOOD and LEDER. Richard Legger of the County of Hertfordshire in 1377. Johannes Leggard was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Legherd married Alice Alsopp in London in 1584. A notable member of this name was Fernand LEGER (l88l-l955) French painter, born in Argentan, a major force in the Cubist movement. Between l903 and l907 he studied at various Paris studios and initially painted in a diffuse Neo-Impressionist manner. However, like many others, he then discovered CEZANNE and began 'constructing' his pictures with volumetric shapes. His pictures differ from those of the fellow members of the avant-garde in being more 'tubist' than 'cubist'. By l9l2, in pictures like 'La Femme en Bleu' Leger was nearing pure abstraction, but after World War I he returned to primarily figurative work in which the working man is combined with machinery in monumental patterns made up of heavy black outlines and primary colour infill. He also designed theatre sets, taught at Yale University, and executed murals for the United Nations building in New York (l952). He collaborated on the first 'art-film' 'Le Ballet mecanique' in l923. There is a museum dedicated to his work at Biot on the Cote d'Azur in the south of France.
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