This unusual name 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, amity. The second origin is from the result of some confusion with the personal name "Pash" or "Pask(e)", used frequently in medieval England as both a given and a nickname for someone born at Easter or for someone with some other connection with that time of year, such as a feudal obligation. The surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below). Variant forms of the surname range from Pase, Paice, Pays and Payce to Payze. Further recordings include Roger Pays (1275) in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk, and William Pace (1242) in the Book of Fees of Devonshire. London Church Records show the marriage of Alice Pace to Thomas Picket in 1539 at St. Michael Bassishaw, and the marriage of Alice Pace to John Garrot on August 16th 1573 at St. Lawrence Pountney. On April 19th 1777, Thomas Pays married Jane Bampton at the church of St. James, Westminster. It is presumed that he came from another county, the name not having been previously recorded in London before that date. 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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