This very unusual and interesting name is of medieval origin from an English and French nickname for a simple, foolish person. The name derives from the Middle English and Olde French word "nice", from the Latin "nescius", meaning "ignorant". In the 14th Century in England, the word also came to mean "coy" and "shy", meanings which may be reflected in the surname, as with the development of the 16th Century meaning of "nice", that is, "fastidious", "precise". The modern sense of general approbation dates only from the late 19th Century. The name development incudes Alice Nyce (1607, London) and Christopher Nyas (1694 ibid.). Margaret Nias married Joseph Morris on the 30th August 1715 at St. Benet's, Paul's Wharf, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Clemens Nyse, christened, which was dated 25th June 1554, St. Martin's, Ludgate, during the reign of Queen Mary I, Bloody Mary, 1553 - 1558. 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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