This surname of LEDOUX was of French origin, originally rendered in the Latin form of DULCIS. It was of two-fold origin meaning 'one who was sweet and pleasant'. This was also in occasional use as a female given name in the Middle Ages. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. The first known bearer of the name was Ulf Dust, who was recorded in Oxford in 1030, and Walter Dust appears in County Yorkshire in 1203. Thomas Dustiberd was documented in 1229 in County Somerset, and Robert le Doust appears in 1316 in County Kent. Richard del Doustes was documented in 1332 in County Lancashire. A certain William Douche, is recorded in 1349 in a document of Merton's College, Oxford, as one of 'the boyes that were of the founder's kin'. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that 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. Later instances of the name include John Doust and Ann Smith who were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1758, and Simon Peirce and Sarah Douce were wed at the same church in 1761.
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