This most interesting surname has two possible origins. Firstly, it may be a variant of "Blessed", a nickname given to a particularly fortunate individual, from the Middle English "(i)blescede, blissed", blessed, from the Olde English "bletsian", to bless. The surname from this source first appears in the late 13th Century (see below). Secondly, the name may be of Anglo-Saxon and Old French origin, from the Olde English "blieths", Middle English "blisse", meaning joy, gladness, with the intensive French suffix "-ard", denoting a certain quality in a person, in this instance gladness and joy. Hence, the surname was a nickname given to someone with these qualities. John le Blessed appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire in 1327. Other early examples of the surname include: the christening of Giles Blissarde in Buckland, Gloucestershire in 1539; the marriage of John Blissard and Margery Izod in 1559 at Buckland; the christening of Abigall Blizard on October 9th 1589 at Guiting Power, Gloucestershire; and the christening of Anne Blissard at St. Nicholas Acons, London. Sir William Blizard (1743 - 1835) founded a medical school in London (1785) and was president of the College of Surgeons twice. A Coat of Arms was granted to a family so called which depicts a black chevron, in chief three blue crosses moline on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh de Blesset, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "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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