Recorded in several forms including Clacey, Clacy, Clacye, Clasy and Clasie, this is a rare surname of English origins. It is almost certainly locational from some now "lost" medieval village, of which the only public reminder in the later 20th century is probably the surname itself, in its varied spellings. We believe that the place name and hence the later surname derives from the pre 7th century Olde English words "cleg" meaning clay, and "-eg", an island. This may have been an island in a river, or it may simply have referred to an area of land which was mainly clay. Much of the country was drained between the 14th and the 18th century, and previously huge areas of flat marshland known as "The fens of East Anglia" became the richest farming lands in the country. However in consequence many small hamlets which had existed and survived often by fishing, simply disappeared in the changed landscape. It has been recently estimated that as many as five thousand surnames of the British Isles may originate from places which no longer exist. The surname is recorded in the surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London back to the reign of King James 1st (1604 - 1617). These recordings include Henry Clacey, who maried Elizabeth Sawtree at St James Clerkenwell on April 14th 1617, Alyce Clacye, who married Ralph White at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on November 4th 1626, and William Clasie, who married Margaret Tisdell at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone, on July 30th 1689.
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