Recorded as Leed, Leeds, Lead, Leads, Leades, Leedes, Ledes, and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. In most cases name holders will have originated from the city of Leeds in West Yorkshire, this place having been recorded in 730 a.d. by the Venerable Bede (675 - 735 a.d.), generally accepted as the first English historian. At the time the region was known as Loidis or Ledes, and only much later in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 did this refer to the city of "Ledes", on its own. There is considerable argument as to the origin of the name, but it is almost certainly to do with water, perhaps from the Germanic word "flodus" meaning river, with Leeds itself standing on a flood plain formed by several rivers. Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people as easy identification after they left their original homes to move somewhere else. However it also possible that some name holders originate from the village of Leeds in Kent. This is first recorded at Esledes in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as Lhedes in 1238. The derivation is from "hylde" meaning loud, possibly a reference to a waterfall or ravine. Early examples of the surname recording include Alexander Ledes of Gipton in Yorkshire, whose daughter Elizabeth was baptised there in the year 1336, Elizabeth Leeds who was buried at St Michaels Cornhilll in the city of London in 1565, whilst Edward Leedes of the county of Sussex was a student at Oxford University in 1575.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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