This unusual and interesting surname, particularly well recorded in Devon and Cornwall, is of early medieval English origin, and is from a nickname for an uneducated or naive person, derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "geche, ge(c)k", simple, foolish person, of uncertain etymology, but apparently with Germanic cognomens. 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, such as, in this case, mental and moral characteristics.The surname was first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below), and early recordings include: Henry le Geke, le Gekke in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire; and Walter Jekkes in the 1524 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. The modern surname can be found recorded as Geake and Geach. The marriage was recorded in Cornwall of Harrye Geake and Jone Northie, on October 28th 1582, at Bodmin, and one 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. 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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