This unusual name is the vernacular form of the female personal name "Agatha", the "learned" (because classical) form in the Middle Ages. The derivation is from the Greek "agathos" and means "good (woman)". The first known Agatha was martyred in the 3rd Century and her miraculous veil, in the church of Catania, in Sicily, is believed to be a sure defence against the eruptions of Mount Etna, so it is fitting that St. Agatha is the patron saint for protection from fire. The name was popular throughout Europe during the Middle Ages usually as the French "Agace" or Latin "Agacia". In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Agass, Aggas, Aggass, Agiss, Aggiss, Aguss and Agguss. On December 16th 1704, John Agass married Mary Wilde at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, the marriage of John Agass to Elizabeth Dalby took place in the same place on July 28th 1715, and William, son of Barnabas and Sarah Agass, was christened on February 12th 1787, at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Agace, which was dated 1275, The Subsidy Rolls, Worcestershire, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.
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