This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and may be an occupational name for a physician, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "laece" meaning leech. However it is normally locational deriving from the villages of Lache in Cheshire or North and Eastleach in Gloucestershire. The village names are Olde English and translate as 'wet lands' from the original pre 8th century 'laecc'. Because of the confusion and interplay with the word 'leace' (leach) absolute decisions on the etymology are not possible, and this is shown in the earliest recordings. These include John Lache (1279) of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist, Colchester, and Edmund le Leche (1279) in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire. These two were probably 'physicians' but others include Henry de Lache of Yorkshire in 1298, who was most definitely a landowner, and therefore locational.The variant spellings of the surname include Leach, Leetch, Leche and Latch, whilst early church recordings list Fanciscus Lowtche, who married Thomasina Leedes at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on February 2nd 1597, and Nicholas Latch, who married Eliza Lipper at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on April 16th 1668. A Coat of Arms granted to the Latch family has the blazon of a silver field, charged with a fesse wavy, between three red escutcheons. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Leche, which was dated circa 1250, in the Chartulary of the Monastery of Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216-1272. 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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