Recorded in many spelling forms including Hearse, Hearsey, Hersee, Herce, Heers, and even Irce, this unusual surname is believed to be of French origin. If so it is locational from a place called "Herci", thought to have been in Normandy; although the actual place has not been positively identified, and was introduced into England after the Norman Invasion of 1066. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. In this case there are many early recordings and examples taken from surviving rolls, charters and registers of the medival period and later include William Hiers who married Jane White at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on April 25th 1661, Hender Hearse, who was married at Sunbury on Thames on April 23rd 1663, Henry Hersee who married Ann Jackson on September 30th 1768 at St. James church, Westminster, and Richard Irce, whose daughter Catherine was christened at Holborn Lying in Hospital, on February 24th 1774. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Hercy. This was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls" of the county of Norfolk, during the reign of King Edward 1st, 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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