- This extraordinary name is apparently a dialectal variant of the Middle English (Kent) habitational name "Leigh-Tonhouse". Normally this would translate as "the house by the farm (tun) in the enclosure (leah) from the pre 7th Century Old English. However in this case we feel that the name is a derived form of "Lycht" meaning light and "in" plus "hus", i.e. literally "the light in the house". A light house was constructed on the Isle of Thanet in the 16th Century and this name may therefore refer to the original lighthouse keeper. On September 29th 1756, Bridget Leightonhouse married Edward Hayward at Cantebury Cathedral, whilst on October 30th 1830, Alexander Lighterns was recorded at Christ Church and Margaret Lighterness in 1832, this time at St. Dunstans, Stepney, when she married one Frederick Cleave on November 20th of that year. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Leightonhouse, which was dated December 3rd 1719, a witness at St. Marye Church Minster on Thanet, Kent, during the reign of King George 1, "Hanover George", 1715 - 1727. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.