Recorded in the spellings of Leach, Leech, Leetch, Leche, Leachman and Leechman, this interesting surname has at least three distinct and possible origins, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly it may have originated as an occupational name for a physician, from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "laece", a transferred meaning resulting from the use of the leech for healing. Secondly, and overlapping with the first, it could have been a medieval nickname for a "blood-sucker," a particularly demanding person, one eager to extract maximum advantage from a given situation. In the Middle Ages personal descriptions were extremely robust, and not so veiled insults were given and received with some alacrity. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales gives several examples of corrupt, or at best unprofessional, conduct by various "leches," showing that at most levels of society they were held in some derision! Early examples of the name recordings from these sources include: Adam Lacheman in the Curia regis rolls of Yorkshire in the year 1210, and Edmund le Leche in the famous Hundred Rolls of the county of Oxfordshire in 1273. The third possible origin is locational from residence a "lac", the later lake. John Lache was noted in records of Cambridgeshire, in 1273. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is probaly that of Robert Leche. This was dated 1250, in the chartulary or register of Ramsey Abbey, in Huntingdonshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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