This page is dedicated to the history of the branch of the Lear family from the area of Hanham, Gloucestershire.

The name Lear appears to have its origins in either the Old English nickname hleor meaning cheek or face, or in one of a number of localities in Northern France or Leicestershire. The IGI reflects the highest pre-19th century concentrations of the name in Devon, Sussex, and to some extent Worcestershire, while the NBI has early concentrations in Sussex, Somerset and Dorset, each pattern probably reflecting the distribution of parishes included as much as the specifics of the Lear name. By 1881, the highest concentration of the name occurred in Gloucestershire, with offshoots in Somerset and Monmouthshire, while smaller pockets occurred in the Midlands and the Home Counties. The name was particularly prevalent in the parishes around Hanham, east of Bristol.

The name Lear (sometimes recorded as 'Leer' or 'Loor') occurs in the registers of Hanham, Gloucestershire back to at least the end of the 1600's, although the early entries are quite sporadic and not clearly connected. William Lear appears to have been baptised at Hanham as the son of James Loor in 1748 , and married Hester Willis at Bitton in 1776. Their decendants spread from Hanham to South Wales, Wiltshire and Australia, and an outline of the descendant tree is attached. William's son Samuel was a Methodist minister, and an etching of him survives.

The Lear name also appears in several of the parishes around Hanham, and a line of specific interest begins with William Lear, a coal miner, born in Bitton around 1807. Further details of his descendant tree, which spread to South Wales, are attached.



Anyone interested in further details of this branch of the Lear family, or who is able to provide additional details relevant to this branch, is invited to contact the coordinator for this page Ian Hall.


This page was last updated 16 May 2007