This interesting name, found chiefly in the West Country, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is either a topographical surname for someone who lived by a stream, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century word 'lacu', stream, or a locational surname from a place named with this word, such as those in Wiltshire and Devonshire. The place in Wiltshire is recorded as 'Lake' in the 1316 Feudal Aid Rolls of the county. Interestingly, the modern English word 'lake' is not derived from this source, but from the Old English 'lac', derived from the Latin 'lacus', lake, and some modern forms of the surname, which is found as Lake, Lack, Lakes, Laker and Lakeman, may derive from this later (medieval) source. One William Lake was an early emigrant to the New World colonies, leaving London on the 'Assurance' in July 1635, bound for Virginia. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de la Lake, which was dated 1200, in the Shropshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King John, known as 'Lackland', 1199-1216. 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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