Recorded in several spellings as shown below, this rare surname is usually English, but can also be Irish, although the origins are completely different. The English surname is derived from the Olde French 'envoise' meaning 'playful' and as such was either a nickname for a person who displayed such characteristics or more likely was a given name of endearment. The word was an early introduction into Britain after the 1066 Norman French Invasion, and as a surname it has developed many forms - all rare. These include Face, Fessey, Fezy, Feacey, Feckey, Vaisey, Veasey, Voisey, Pheasey, Phaisey, Lefestey and many more. With the changes in both dialect and indeed language since the Medieval period, the initial syllable 'en' has been long gone, and in the South and West of England in particular the letter 'f' became substituted as a dialectal pronunciation for the 'V', as well as the later spelling change of 'ph' for 'f' as in Phazey, Pheysey etc. In Ireland, the surname when spelt as Vesey, a name fairly numerous in County Mayo is said to be a synonym of MacVeagh, which translates as 'the son of 'Life', the latter being a personal name of great antiquity. Examples of the recordings include Elizabeth Fecie, christened at St Peters Cornhill, London, and Thomas Pheazy who married Marye Frampton at St Gregory's by St Pauls, London, on February 2nd 1662. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Lenveiset. This was dated 1131, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry Ist of England, known as 'The Administrator', 1100 - 1135. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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