This interesting name is a good example of medieval and Middle English dialectual pronunciation creating a mild havoc. The origination is from the Olde English 'wearda' meaning in effect 'a watch-keeper', which was conjoined with the French 'le' after 1066 to create 'le Ward', as in Simon le Ward recorded in Bedfordshire in 1279. The intrusive 'd' appears to be a job descriptive development to 'the lead ward' one who guarded lead and as such is recorded in the 18th century, Ellen Leadward being baptised at the Parish Church, Warrington on July 7th, 1736. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jane Ledward. which was dated 1728 Married John Wilkinson at St. Dunstans, Stepney. during the reign of King George II 'The Last Warrior King' 1727-1760. 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.