Recorded in many spelling forms including: Wass, Wace, Wase, Gass, Gaze, and Gazey, this ancient and interesting surname has two possible origins. The first is Anglo-Scottish deriving from the Norman personal name "Wazo". Introduced into Britain by the conquerors in 1066, and itself derived from an earlier Germanic name "Wada", from the pre 7th century word "wad", meaning to go, it was also the name of a legendary sea-giant, much respected during the period of history known as "The Dark Ages". The second source is Welsh. Derived from the word "gwas" meaning literally "boy", it was originally either a baptismal name of endearment for a male child, or it may have had the medieval meaning of a servant or apprentice, and hence be job descriptive. The name development includes the following early examples taken from surviving charters: Wide Wasun in the county of Somerset in 1195, William Was of Cambridge in 1210, John Gace of Wiltshire in 1224, and James Gasse of Suffolk in the Hearth Roll Tax register of 1568. Among the recordings in the registers of the diocese of Greater London is the christening of Samuel, the son of William and Catherine Gasey on February 28th 1796 at St. Leonards church, Shoreditch. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wase. This was dated 1194, in the "Curia Rolls" of Essex, during the reign of King Richard 1st of england, and known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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