Recorded as Leo, Leon, Lian, Lion, Lyan, Lyon, the diminutives Lionel, Lionell and Lyonell, patronymics Lions, Lyans, Lyons, Lyonson, and others, this is a surname which is usually and ultimately of pre 7th century French origins. Introduced into the British Isles at the Norman Conquest of 1066, it has a number of possible sources. Firstly, it may be locational either from the town of Lyons, in central France, thought to mean "raven hill, or more likely from the smaller place called Lyons-la-Foret in the province of Eure in Normandy. Secondly, it may be a nickname for a fierce or brave warrior, (or perhaps the reverse!) from the French word "lion" itself from the Roman "leo", meaning a lion...
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