Recorded in several forms including Geak, Geake, Geach and Jeakes, this unusual and interesting surname is English. It is particularly well recorded in the countes of Devon and Cornwall, and is or rather was, apparently a nickname for a naive person. However given the robust humour of the medieval times as shown by the works of Chaucer and others, nicknames usually meant the opposite of their apparent translation. Indeed if this was not the case, they would hardly have survived. The derivation is from the Middle English word "geche or geck", wqhich literally means simple.The wordfs are of uncertain etymology, but apparently are cognate with similar pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon or Germanic examples. A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics. The surname was first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below), and early recordings include: Henry le Geke, in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1279; and Walter Jekkes in the 1524 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. Harrye Geake and Jone Northie, were married on October 28th 1582, at Bodmin, and Degory Geake was christened on February 24th 1600 at Egloskerry, also in Cornwall. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Geek, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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