To people living in London in the years 1640 to 1660, this surname would have been amongst the top five best known. Mr Speaker Lenthall (William Lenthall 1591 - 1662), played a prominent part in the Parliaments of Charles 1st and later Oliver Cromwell. He was a barrister, and he displayed the art of that profession in managing at all times, throughout the violence of the Civil War (1642 - 1648) to keep his feet in every camp. He also, and above all else managed to (literally) his head, when many failed to do so. The surname originates from the two villages called Earls Leinthall and Leinthall Starkes in the county of Hereford. The meaning of the village name is not proven, but is probably a corruption of the Olde English 'Leofa' (a personal name of the pre 7th century) plus 'halh' - a manor house. The surname as shown below is first recorded in the 14th century, and it is probable that the family were literally the 'Lords of the Manor'. This is proven by the grant of arms to Sir Henry Lenthall, who it is said was 'Master of the Robes' to King Henry 1V, and a commander at Agincourt in the year 1415. The blazon of the arms is silver, charged with a black bend cotised, and thereon three gold knights spurs. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Lentale, which was dated 1367, in the pipe rolls of the city of Gloucester, 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.