This surname of LEEDS is an ancient English locational name meaning 'one who came from LEEDS' the well-known town in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The name is also spelt LEEDS and LEEDE. Early records of the name mention Elizabeth LEEDES, who was buried at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in the year 1654, and Edward LEEDES of County Sussex, registered at Oxford University in the year 1575. Charles LEEDS of Biddenden, Kent and Sarah Taylor, were married in London at the Faculty Office in the year 1647. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. A notable member of this name was Thomas Osborne, Duke of LEEDS (l632-l7l2) English statesman, better known as the Earl of Danby. He was the son of a Yorkshire baronet. He entered parliament for York in l66l and in l667 became a treasury auditor. He sought to enforce the laws against Roman Catholics and Dissenters, used his influence to get Princess Mary married to William of Orange (William III) in l677 and negotiated with Louis XIV for bribes to Charles II. Louis, however, intrigued for Danby's downfall and the Commons impeached him in l678 for treating with foreign powers. He was kept in the Tower until l684 although Charles at once gave him a full pardon, as the Commons persisted in the impeachment.He was created Duke of Leeds in l694.He was again impeached in l695 for accepting five thousand guineas from the East India Company; he staved off condemnation but his power was gone and he retired in l699.
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