This interesting name derives from the French topographical name "Roche", somebody who lived by a rocky crag or "les Roches" a placename in Normandy. From this origin it became widespread in England and Ireland after the Norman invasion in the later 11th Century. In the modern idiom the surname has several variant spellings including Roach, Roache, and Roch(e). It became a completely Hibernized name, widespread in Munster and Wexford, where the original Roche settlers in Ireland were located. The placename Rochestown occurs frequently in Wexford, Cork and Kilkenny (Ireland). There is also evidence of the predominance of a powerful family of Roches in Fermoy, County Cork, where a large tract of land is known as "Roches county". Early recordings of the name in England include a Lucas de Roches entered in Hampshire in 1249 and a Ralph de la Roche in the Pipe Rolls of Cornwall in 1195. William Roache is recorded as a small landowner in the new world of Barbados, in the West Indies, circa 1678 - 1680. Father Philip Roche died for his prominent part in the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland, as did one Edward Roche. Sir Boyle Roche (1743 - 1807) was famous for his wit and "bulls". John Roach (flourised 1794) was a bookseller and compiler who kept a shop in Drury Lane, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Roches, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book (Bedfordshire), during the reign of King William, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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