Recorded in several spellings including Gough, Gouge, Gouch and Gooch, this interesting surname is medieval English. It has two possible origins, both ultimately Gaelic or Celtic. Firstly it may be an occupational name deriving from the pre 7th century Ancient Gaelic word "gobha", or the Cornish-Breton word "goff", both meaning worker in iron. As Gooch and sometimes Gouch, it is claimed to be widespread in the region of England known as East Anglia, the name there being was introduced from Brittany by followers of Duke William of Normandy, at or after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Secondly it may derive from another Gaelic or Celtic word "coch", meaning red. This was much used in pre medieval Wales and also England, as a nickname for a person with red hair or ruddly complexion. It may also have been an ethnic name of abuse for the Anglo-Saxon invaders of the 5th century, who settled in England in the 6th century, and gradually pushed many Olde English into Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany, in France. The surname is one of the earliest recorded with examples from early records and charters including Felicia Goch in the rolls known as the "Calendar of Inquisitones post mortem", in Gloucestershire in 1305, the Subsidy Rolls of Essex in 1327 mention a John Guch and William Gugge, and the court rolls of the borough of Colchester list John Gooch in 1374. Thomas Gouge (1609-1681) a notable namebearer, was educated at Eton and Kings College Cambridge and provided work for the poor in flax and hemp-spinning. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Goch. This was dated 1203, in the registers known as the "Pleas before the King or his Justices (1198 -1202) for the county of Shropshire. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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