This most interesting surname may be of Old French or Anglo-Saxon origin. It may be a French topographical name for a dweller by the river "Claise", which flows into the Vienne, a tributary of the Loire, south of Tours in Poitou, France. It may also have been a French locational name for someone who came from "Claix", near Grenoble in south-east France. Secondly, the surname may be an unusual variant of the English "Clay", which itself is a topographical name for a dweller by an area of clay soil, or an occupational name for a worker in a claypit, from the Olde English "claeg", clay. The name may have developed from Clay, Claye, Clayes to Claise and eventually to Claisse. There is evidence to suggest that the surname was introduced to England by French Huguenots, fleeing religious persecution, in the late 16th and 17th Centuries. Tyce Clayes was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate, in London on October 19th 1568, while Sarah, daughter of Daniell Claise, was christened on August 26th 1603 at St. Vedast's, in London. Nicolas Claisse was christened on May 19th 1776 at Henamenil, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France. Jaques Louis, son of Jaques and Marianne Claisse, French Huguenots, was christened at Threadneedle Street French Huguenot Church, in London on September 4th 1803. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Clayes, which was dated August 13th 1560, marriage to Elizabeth Hutchin, at St. Thomas', London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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