Lane Surname Meaning, History & Origin
The surname Lane in England is topographical, from
the Old English lanu or “lane,” and
describing someone who lived by or in a lane (originally a narrow way
fences or hedges). Lane in England may in
addition have originated as an occupational name for a worker in wool,
old French laine meaning “wool.”
The surname was also to be found in
Ireland. Here it was an anglicization of
the Gaelic names O’Laighhin (from laighean
meaning “spear”) or O’Luain (from luain
Spelling variants are Laine and Layne.
Laine or de Laine could be a Huguenot name.
Lane Resources on
- Lane Family Tree Lanes
from England to Maryland.
- The Lane Family The Lanes
- Descendants of James Lane
from Norfolk to Australia.
- Lane Arrivals in Victoria
Lane families from Ireland in Australia.
- Lane DNA Project Lane DNA.
The surname Lane probably came from several
different places in England. The
following were some early pre-Tudor Lane lines:
- Lane first appeared in records in Canterbury, Kent in
1387. Thomas Lane and his brother William
for Canterbury in the early 1400’s.
Lane held Orlingbury Manor near Thingdon in Northamptonshire in 1469. The estate passed onto Sir Ralph Lane in
Tudor times. He married Maud Parr, a
cousin of one of Henry VIII’s wives.
Lanes of Bentley Hall in
Staffordshire date from 1428 when Richard Lone or Lane acquired the
estate. These Lanes were Royalist during
the English Civil War, with Jane Lane playing an important part in the
of Charles II after his defeat at Worcester in 1651.
From Devon came Sam Lane who started the
Britannia theatre in London in 1840. His
wife Sarah Lane took over the
theatre after his death and befriended the Lupino acting family (many
adopted her name). Also from Devon came
the Lane publishing family. John Lane
was born in north Devon in 1854. He
moved to London where he helped hound The
Bodley Head publishing house. His
adopted son Allen started up Penguin books in the 1930’s.
By the late 19th century, the distribution of
the Lane name was very much in western England, in a line stretching
from Lancashire to Devon, with smaller numbers in London and the southeast.
Lanes in Ireland could be either of Irish or
English origin. Irish Lanes appeared
mainly in Cork and Kerry in SW Ireland. English
Lanes included those at Tulsk in Roscommon, starting with Captain
in the 1590’s, and at Lanespark in Tipperary, granted to a branch of
Northamptonshire Lanes in the 1660’s.
There was an early and extensive coverage of the
Lanes who came to New England in 1891 in James Fitts and Jacob
volume Lane Genealogies. The
most noteworthy of these Lanes were the
Lanes of Hingham,
Massachusetts. Tradition has it that
they were the descendants of the William Lane who arrived in Dorchester
1635. But they might alternatively have
been the descendants of another William Lane in Boston.
Lane joined a Puritan colonizing project off Central America in
1632 and died
there. His son Samuel was more
fortunate, arriving in Maryland in 1664 and prospering there. Richard
Lane moved his family from Maryland to Pittsylvania county, Virginia in
1746. Other Lanes were early settlers in
SW Virginia and NE Tennessee. Lambert
Lane who fought in the Revolutionary War lived with his family in the
river settlement “in the wild woods near the Indians.”
Thomas Lane was an early
settler in Surry county, Virginia. His
descendants were to be found in Buncombe county, North Carolina where
Lane was born in a log cabin in 1801. He
moved with his family to Kentucky and then to Indiana where he fought
Mexican War and entered politics.
President Polk appointed him as the first Governor of Oregon
1849 and he subsequently served as one of its Senators.
A son Lafayette was elected to Congress in
1875 and a grandson Harry was Oregon Senator in 1912, making Joe Lane
of one of the state’s most prominent political families.
the 19th century, there were more Lanes
coming to America from Ireland
than from England. An early arrival in
1821, from county Cork, was Walter Lane.
He fought in the Mexican war and on the Confederate side in the
War. He subsequently settled in Texas (his memoirs, The Adventures and
Recollections of General Walter P. Lane, were published
posthumously in 1928). The main number of Lanes came at or after
the potato famine in Ireland. Many of these Lanes went missing.
Australia and New Zealand. Robert Lane and his
family from Norfolk had an eventful passage on the Schomberg to Australia in 1855. The vessel was shipwrecked off the coast of Victoria on its maiden voyage. They survived. But they lost all their furniture.
Lanes from Ireland started arriving in Australia after the potato famine. An early arrival was Thomas Lane from Limerick in
1863 to work at the Victoria gold diggings. Later came a number
of other Lane families from Clare and Limerick who also settled in Victoria.
William Lane, the son of a drunken Irishman, came to Australia via Canada and America in 1885. There he pursued a career as a
radical journalist, organizing the Queensland trade unions into the Australian Labor Federation. He then led 220 believing followers to found a new colony in an unsettled part of Paraguay in South America which he named New Australia. The colony turned out to be a failure and Lane retreated in his later years to New Zealand.
The Lanes of Bentley Hall. The forebear of these Lanes was said to be Adam de
Lona of Wolverhampton. Richard Lone or
Lane married the Hyde heiress of Blymnill in 1414 and later, as Richard
la Hyde, acquired Bentley Hall in 1428.
By the time of Thomas Lane in the early 1600’s, the manor was
by two parks, both of which contained deer when the King visited. These Lanes were ardent Royalists.
On the night of September 10 1651, King
Charles II took shelter at Bentley Hall.
The English Civil War had just ended with Charles’s defeat at
of Worcester and he was now fleeing for his life from Oliver Cromwell’s
victorious troops. The King was helped
by the then owner Colonel John Lane and his sister Jane Lane. The next day she took Charles, disguised as
her servant, to Bristol. From there he
continued what became over a 600-mile escape route to France.
Bentley Hall near present-day Walsall was
later renamed King’s Bromley manor.
There were three manor houses on the site. But
nothing remains today except a cairn stone.
Richard Lane’s Misfortunes on Providence Island. Richard Lane, who grew up in Herefordshire, had what was considered at the time unorthodox Puritan views – which he was not
express. Thus it might not be a surprise
to learn that, after a seven year apprenticeship as a merchant tailor,
decided to emigrate with his family.
in fact departed for the Caribbean in 1632, joining a Puritan group
establishing a colony on Providence Island off the coast of Central
America. Richard’s task was to introduce
the growing of the plant madder, the root of which was used to make red
In 1641, Richard Lane came under criticism
for his Puritan views. He, along with
two clergymen, was arrested and brought to trial in London. However, at the hearing, the charges were
found to be unmerited and he was able to return to his duties. That year in fact he was nominated,
unsuccessfully as it turned out, as Governor of Providence Island.
In 1657 Richard and his son Oziell were
drowned off Eleuthera island. His widow
Alice petitioned the company for a pension and she and her remaining
returned to London. The eldest son
Samuel, unsettled in England, emigrated to Maryland in 1664.
Lanes in Hingham, Massachusetts. A gravestone in the older part of the Hingham cemetery bears the following inscription:
“In memory of
Captain George Lane
died May 3, 1790, aged 59; Peter Lane lost at sea 1779, aged 22; Ferdinand Lane died at New York September 10 1793, aged 25.”
Sarah Lane and the Lupino Family. Sam Lane had started the Britannia theatre in Hoxton,
east London in 1840. On his death in
1871 his wife Sarah succeeded him as proprietor and manager until her
in 1899. During this time she also
appeared regularly as the principal boy in the Britannia’s annual
Among the performers at the Britannia, and a
favorite of Sarah Lane, was the actor Henry Charles Lupino. He came from a long line of Lupino actors,
said to have started with an Italian puppeteer immigrant to London in
1620’s. Lupino’s son adopted the Lane
name and as Lupino Lane made his fame and his fortune in the musical Me and My Girl.
Lanes in America by Country of Origin
Lost Lanes. At the time of the potato
famine and later, many Lanes left their impoverished lives in Ireland
for a new
home in America. A number, however, got
in the process. The register in The Search for Missing Friends,
generally placed by relatives, is voluminous at this time. The following is a snapshot of some of the Lane
November 1849. Bridget
Lane, aged 24, who arrived in
Boston on August 14, 1848 on the Harriet
and Jane from Youghal in county Cork. Miss
Lane has a brother now residing in
Benson, Vermont, who is very anxious to hear from her.
November 1851. Jeremiah
Lane, who had lived with lived
with his uncle, Thomas O’Keefe in Cruckanmore parish in county Cork,
place he came to America. Any
information respecting him will be thankfully received by his sister,
of Hampton, New Hampshire.
July 1852. William and
John Lane (aged 16 and 14),
natives of Fermoy parish in county Cork, who landed in some part of
America in August, 1848 with their father who died at Quarantine soon
landing. The two lads were taken by a
gentleman of the name of Howell to some part of Upper Canada. Any information respecting them will be
thankfully received by their sister, Honora Lane.
July 1854. James Lane
of Kenmare in county Kerry,
who came to the United States two and a half years ago and has not been
since. Information of him will be received by his daughter, Mary
Lane, care of
Patk IGO, Jefferson city, New Orleans.
1864. Michael Lane of the parish
of Tourneena in county Waterford who left home on the 19th of March,
1853 or 1854,
landed in New York, and when last heard from was in St Louis or
Chicago. He is about 38 years of age and
feet six inches in height. He is in this country ten years next
March. Any information
of him will be thankfully received by his brother, William Lane of
Pennsylvania, who came to America in 1863.
May 1865. Patrick Lane,
native of the parish of
Killmurry in county Cork, who emigrated to Quebec in 1846. When last heard from, about 17 years ago, he
was in Youngstown, New York. Also of Jane
and Susan Lane who emigrated to this country about 15 years ago and are
to be in Cincinnati, Ohio. Any information of all or any of them
will be thankfully
received by their sister, Bridget Singleton, in Litchfield county,
Reader Feedback – Robert Lane to Australia in 1855. I read somewhere that the earliest written record of the Lane surname was Bartholomew Lane in 1192 (Suffolk).
It was Robert Lane who sailed on the Schomberg to Australia in 1855. It was then the British colony of Van Diemens Land (now the state of Tasmania).
His father, my great great great grandfather Richard Lane had been sentenced on 4th July 1832 at Norwich Assizes to 14 years transportation for “running stolen goods (wheat).” He was conditionally pardoned after seven years (which meant he had to stay another seven years, but he was free), but returned to England afterwards. I migrated to Australia and only discovered this in the last few years.
Sincerely, Richard Lane (email@example.com)
The Obituary of Thomas Lane. Thomas Lane
of Crossley, Victoria died in 1917. The
local newspaper in Australia reported his death as
“An old and respected colonist died at his residence,
Crossley, in the person
of Mr. Thomas Lane who arrived in Victoria about 54 years ago. He
identified with the early days of the gold diggings and 35 years ago he
purchased land at Crossley, where he was engaged in farming until the
his death which occurred at the age of 74 years. He
leaves a widow and grown up family to mourn
their loss. The late Mr. Lane was the eldest son of Mr.
John Lane of Firhill, county
Limerick in Ireland and was very highly respected throughout the
district. The funeral took place last
when considerably over 100 vehicles followed the remains to their last
place, the procession being about a mile and a half in length. The Rev. P. Lennon conducted the service at
- Sir Ralph Lane was an English explorer of the Elizabethan age who led an unsuccessful attempt to establish a colony on Roanoke Island in
North Carolina in 1585.
- Sir Allen Lane was the British
publisher who found Penguin Books in 1936.
- Lupino Lane was the English
singer and dancer who made his name with the show Me and
My Girl in 1937 which popularized The Lambeth Walk.
- Lois Lane was a fictional comic book
character in America, the girlfriend of Superman.
- Frankie Laine, born Francesco LaVecchio, was a successful American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spanned 75 years.
Select Lane Numbers Today
- 38,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 49,000 in America (most numerous in California)
- 25,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)
Select Lane and Like Surnames
These names are locational, describing someone who lived in those medieval times by the side of a bank, or by a barn or a lane or a shaw (which means a wood) or a wood and so forth. Both the oak tree and the ash tree have in fact provided locational surnames – Oakes and Nash (from atten Ash). Here are some of these locational surnames that you can check out.
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