This interesting name is one of the earliest recorded surnames and is of English origin. Leeson is the metronymic (from the mother) form of Lees, and derives from the medieval female given name "Lece", a short form of "Lettice", which is itself a derivation of the Latin "Laetitia", meaning happiness or gaiety. Lettice was a very popular female name from the 12th Century to the 17th Century, whence Laetitia superseded it. Leeson is one of a handful of surnames surviving which were derived from the name of the first bearer's mother. This is because European society has been patriarchal throughout history, and as a result, the given name of the male head of the household has been handed on as a distinguishing name to successive generations. In the modern idiom, the variants include, Leason, Lesson and Lisson. The form Leceson is found in widely different locations in the Middle Ages, but it seems likely that the modern namebearers, Leeson, descend from a common ancestor originally from Packington in Leicestershire. One branch of the family became earls of Milltown in the Irish peerage. Recordings from London Church Registers include the christening of Elizabeth, daughter of William Leeson, June 5th 1593, at St. Bride's, Fleet Street. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Leceson, which was dated 1332, in the "Pipe Rolls of Cumberland", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.