This unusual and interesting surname is of French origin, and has three possible sources; the most likely being either a metonymic occupational name for a fishmonger, or perhaps a nickname for a thin person, from the Old French "plaise" a flat fish. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. While a sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress.Alternatively, it could be topographical for a person who either lived in the main market square or broad street, from the Old French "place", a square, or topographical for someone who lived near a fence, derived from the Latin "plectare" to plait or weave. In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Pleace, Plaice, Pl(e)ass and Pleece. The marriage was recorded in London of George Pleace and Elizabeth Bigge at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, in 1812. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Plaice, which was dated 1200, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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