This name derives from the Medieval English "douce" or "dowse" itself coming from the Olde French "dolz" later "doux" meaning "sweet" or "pleasant", the name can also be spelt as Douch or Douche. Frequently used as a woman's name, it is first recorded as such in the early 13th century - "Duze filia (daughter of) Rannulfi" - the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire (1219). However, the first recording of the surname is earlier (see below). One Gilbert le Dus and a Godfrey le Douz appear in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. A Walter Dous or Douce is recorded in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire. On May 2nd 1635, one Robert Duce aged 18, embarked from London on the ship "Alexander" bound for the Barbadoes, and the christening of Isaack, an infant, son of John and Frances Duce, is recorded in St. Bride, Fleet Street, London on July 1st, 1660. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Duce of le Duz. which was dated 1200 in the "Cartulary of Oseney Abbey", Oxfordshire. during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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