This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical surname denoting residence by a ditch or dike, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "dic", dike, ditch. The plural form represents the survival of the Olde English genitive case, meaning "of" the dike. Medieval ditches and dikes were formidable earthworks, often used for defence as much as drainage, and forming prominent landmarks. The "modern" surname has a wide variety of variant forms including Ditch, Dike(s), Deetch, Dyke(s), Deek(es), Deakes, Deas and Deex. The name is generally associated with East Anglia, and the Severn Valley, but is now found widely throughout Britain. The name recordings include the following examples of the name development: John atte Dich, 1260, the Assize Rolls of Cheshire; John del Dike in the Subsidy Rolls for Yorkshire; whilst Barnably Dikes is recorded at St. Martin in the Field, Westminster, on October 15th 1575. Richard Deeks is recorded as a witness at the Church of St. Katherine by the Tower, London, on January 12th 1773, in the reign of George 111 (1760 - 1820). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jocely de la Dike, which was dated 1250, in the "Middle English Locational Names List for Sussex", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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