This interesting surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Leach may have originated as an occupational name for a physician, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "laece", one who practises healing, a physician. The above meaning was brought about as a result of the medicinal use of the leech for healing by blood-letting. The surname may, however, also have been a nickname from the bloodsucking creature, denoting a particularly demanding person, one eager to extract maximum advantage from a given situation. A quotation from Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" reads: "The divel made a reve to preche, Or of a souter a shipman, or a leche". Edmund le Leche was recorded in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire. The second possible origin is that the name is topographical from residence by a lake, from the Olde English "laca", cognate with the Old High German "lache", lake. One John Lache was noted in records of Cambridgeshire, dated circa 1272, and in 1586, Elizabeth Leach and Nichoas Ellsworth were married in London. 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 Ramsey Abbey", Huntingdonshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272.
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