Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Lever Name
Origins of Lever:
This unique name, with variant spellings Levers and Leaver, has three possible sources. The first origin of the name may acquire from the old French “levre,” which means a coney and frequently given as a nickname to a speedy person. Originally, Lever may be a shortened form of the Norman French “leve(i)er,” which means a runner or a person who hunts of hares. Roger Leverier in Cambridgeshire in the year 1230, being the earliest noted holder of the name in its full form. The name may also be geographical from an apartment by a part of the grassy ground. The derivation in this situation is from the old English pre 7th Century “loefer,” which means stick, rush or iris. Great and Little Lever in Lancashire called with this word, and the surname may also be geographical from either of the above places. Finally, the old English particular name Leofhere, a combination of the components “leof,” which means loved, and “here,” which means army may be the origin of the surname. Ralph Lever, Conon of Durham, 1567, wrote “The Arte of Reason,” a memoir on logic, in 1573.
More common variations are: Leaver, Leever, Leiver, Levear, Levery, Levere, Leveri, Leuver, Levera, Liever.
The surname Lever was first found in Lancashire at Little Lever, now a large hamlet in the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester.
The very first recorded spelling of the family was shown to be that of Dante de Lever, dated about 1246, in the “The Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire.” It was during the time of King Henry III who was known to be the “The Frenchman,” dated 1216 – 1272. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England.
Many of the people with surname Lever had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Lever landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Lever who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included Ashton Lever and James Lever, both settled in Maryland in the same year 1775.
The following century saw much more Lever surnames arrive. Some of the people with the name Lever who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Adam, James, John, Lawrence, and William Lever, all came to Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.
Some of the individuals with the surname Lever who landed in Australia in the 19th century included John Lever arrived in Canterbury aboard the ship “Hastings” in 1856.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Lever: England 4,431; United States 2,525; Australia 1,625; South Africa 968; Canada 734; Mexico 471; Netherlands 439; Colombia 349; France 343; Philippines 258.
Sir Arthur Lever, 1st Baronet (1860–1924), was a British leader.
Arthur Lever (footballer) (1920–2004), was a Welsh professional footballer.
Asbury Francis Lever (1875–1940), was a representative of the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina.
Sir Ashton Lever (1729–1788), was an English collector of natural objects.
Caitlin Lever (born 1985), was a Canadian softball player.
Charles Lever (1806–1872), was an Irish novel writer of English descent.
Colin Lever (born 1939), was an old English cricket player.
Darcy Lever (c.1759–1839), was a British writer and expert in seamanship.
Don Lever (born 1952), is a Canadian professional ice hockey left winger.
Eddie Lever was a manager of English football club Portsmouth.
Lafayette “Fat” Lever (born 1960), is an American professional basketball player.
Sir Hardman Lever, 1st Baronet (1869–1947), was an English clerk and local servant.
Harold Lever, Baron Lever of Manchester (1914–1995), was an English advocate and leader.
Harry Lever (born 1886), was an Australian rules football player who played with St Kilda in the VFL.
Hayley Lever (1876–1958), was an Australian-American artist, sculptor, professor and art teacher.
Lever Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Lever blazon are the bendlet, cock, trumpet and hart. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, argent and or .
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur . In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” . Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun . In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ .
The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right . Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). . The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank .The Bendlet is quite simply a narrower version of the bend, and there may be a small number of these present.
The cock, and other members of its avian family are often found in coats of arms, although telling them apart simply from their images can sometimes be a challenge! Many times the precise choice of species arises as a play on words on the family name, sometimes now lost in history. The cock itself, Wade points out is a “bird of great courage” and might be used as a symbol of “watchfullness”, being the herald of the dawn.
Music was as popular in the middle ages as it is today and musical instruments are frequently to be found in coats of arms . Sometimes these are a “play on words” such as the trumpets appearing for Trumpington , but sometimes just for the pleasure and ease of identification that these objects allow. The trumpet is an example of this, and is also sometimes known as the hautboy. In common with most instruments, Wade believes that the symbology of these devices is “ready for the fray”.