This unusual surname of French origins, is recorded in the spellings of Peace, Pace, Paice, Pase, Payce, and possibly others as well. It has two possible origins. The first being from an early medieval nickname for a mild-mannered and even-tempered man, derived from the Anglo-Norman-French and Middle English word "pace" or "pece", ultimately from the Latin "pax", "pacis", meaning "peace", concord or amity. However given the Medieval propensity for sarcasm, it must also be assumed that some nameholders were the opposite to 'peaceful'.The second possible origin is from the result of confusion with the personal name "Pash" or "Pask(e)", used frequently in medieval England as both a given and a nickname for a person born at Easter, or with some other connection with that religious festival. This could have been a feudal obligation, perhaps providing a service, or even goods, on that date. The surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below) and early examples of the recordings include Roger Pays in the 1275 Hundred Rolls of Norfolk, William Pace in 1242 the 'Book of Fees' for Devonshire and Peter Pece of Yorkshire in 1302. Examples of church recordings include the marriage of Alice Pace to Thomas Picket in 1539 at St. Michael Bassishaw, and Alyse Paice who married John Garrot on August 16th 1573 at the church of St. Lawrence Pountney, both London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Pais, which was dated 1219, in the "Register of the Freemen of Leicester", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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