This unusually interesting name has two possible origins, although the meaning is the same in both cases. Firstly, Fossey may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, as a topographical or locational surname, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "foss", ditch, dike, with "eg", island, low-lying land in a fen or between streams. As a topographical surname, Fossey denotes "a dweller by the low-lying land near the dike", and as a locational name, residence at a place named with the same elements, such as the now lost village of Fotsey in Bedfordshire, recorded in 969 as "Foteseige". Early English examples of the name include Arnold de la Fossie (1282, London), and John del Fossey (1297, Yorkshire). The second possible origin of the surname is French, derived from the Old French "fosse", ditch, and a diminutive form of the topographical or locational surnames therefrom. Fossey was introduced into England by Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution on the Continent during the late 16th and 17th Centuries; Rachel Fossie was christened at the Walloon or Stranger's Church in Canterbury, Kent, on August 20th 1592, and Isaac, son of Jaques and Jeanne Fossey, was christened at Threadneedle Street French Huguenot Church, London, on October 19th 1712. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Fossey, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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