This unusual name is of Old Scandinavian origin, dating from before the 10th Century, when much of Eastern and North-Eastern England was settled by Norse, Swedish and Danish invaders. The surname is locational, deriving from the place called "Eyke", in Suffolk. The placename is recorded as "Eyk" in the 1270 County Records of Suffolk, and as "Eyck" in the Suffolk Ecclesiastical Records of 1291. The name means "(place of) the oak trees", derived from the Old Norse "eik", oak tree. Locational surnames were usually acquired by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, often in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. One Dinggell Ecke was christened at St. Botolph's without Aldgate, London, on September 1st 1569, and the marriage of Francis Eke and Mary Starling was recorded at East Dereham, Norfolk, on October 27th 1730. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mary Eiche (christening), which was dated August 19th 1566, St. Giles, Norwich, Norfolk, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, '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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