Recorded in several forms as shown below, this is an English surname, but arguably of Roman origins. Probably introduced into England by the Norman-French after the Invasion of 1066, it derives from one of the earliest Roman names, Horatius. This name is thought to be from "hora", the Latin for hour, but the original meaning has been lost. The personal name is best known from Horatius Cocles, who held the bridge over the Tiber against the Etruscan army. This is from Macaulay's book of Ancient Rome", and from the great Latin poet Horace, whose name was Quintus Horatius Flaccus. The first use of the personal name in England was confined to the learned section of society, as in Oratius Presbiter, recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Essex in 1193. The surname is quite rare although found as Orris, Orriss, Oris, Orice, Orrice and Orrick. The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of Richard Oras. This was dated 1312, in the tax rolls known as the 'Feet of Fines' for the county of Essex, during the reign of King Edward 11nd of England, 1307 - 1327. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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