Recorded as Deak, Deek, Deakes, Deekes, Dich, Diche, Ditch, Dyche, Diches, Dyches and associated with Dike, Dyke, and Dykes, this is an English surname. It is topographical and describes a person who lived by a ditch or dike. Derived from the pre 7th Century word "dic", the plural form when it occurs means "of" the dike. Medieval ditches and dikes were formidable earthworks, often used for defence as much as drainage, and hence forming prominent landmarks. The "modern" surname is generally associated with East Anglia and the Severn Valley, areas which in the past were "drained" with the building of dikes and ditches.The name recordings include the following examples John atte Dich, in the Assize Rolls of Cheshire in 1260; Absolom in Le Dyche of Cambridge in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, and John del Dike in the Subsidy Rolls for Yorkshire of1332. Richard Deeks is recorded as a witness at the church of St. Katherine by the Tower (of London), on January 12th 1773. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jocely de la Dike, which was dated 1250, in the Locational Names List for the county of Sussex, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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