This curious name originated in East Anglia, with the variant spellings Kee(t)ch, Kea(tt)ch, Keitch and Kedge, where it is still mainly confined, and is derived from an early medieval East Anglian dialect term, "kedge", thought to be ultimately of Old Norse origin, and meaning "brisk, lively". The surname Kedge and its variant form Ketch are thus one of that interesting group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instances with reference to a variety of qualities; for example, physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, and often supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition. The 15th Century dictionary, "Promptorium Parvulorum", cites "Kygge or Kydge: jocundus", that is, jolly, lively. Early examples of the surname include: Alexander Kech (1221, Norfolk); William Kigge (circa 1250, Lincolnshire); and Adam Kyg (1276, Buckinghamshire). Recordings from Essex Church Registers include the christening of John, son of John and Sara Kedge, on June 13th 1624, at St. Nicholas', Colchester. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alured Keg' which was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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