Leach was given as both a metonymic occupational name and as a topographical descriptive name. It finds it's roots in the Olde English pre 7th Century word "Laece" meaning "a leech" or "blood-letter" i.e., a barber or surgeon. It may have occasionally been used as a nickname for an individual with a very demanding nature. As a topographical name Leach derives from the Olde English "Loecc", relating to "Lacu" for stream and may have come to describe a person who lived by a boggy stream. On January 10th 1629, the infant Christopher Leach was christened at St.Giles, Cripplegate, London. On February 5th 1793 at St. Leonards, Shoreditch, London one John Leitch married Katharine Hood. The musical composer James Leach (1762 - 1798), was a member of the King's Band and was known for his compositions for stringed instruments. A notable namebearer was Wilham Leighton Leitch (1804 - 1883) who was drawing master to Queen Victoria and the royal family for 22 yrs.. He is regarded as the last of the great English teachers of landscape painting. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edmund le Leche, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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