This is a very rare and interesting surname. It is probably French in origin and if so a patronymic or diminutive of the name and word 'Tort'. This surname recorded in France in the spellings of Tort, Tortel, Tortelle, and Tortes, and in England as Tartis, Torteas, Tortice, Tortis, Tortoise, Tortus, Tortesse, Tortison, and possibly others, is claimed to be a development of the medieval word 'tordue' meaning bent or twisted. As such it was a nickname similar to the Anglo-Scottish Cruickshanks, and described a person with a physical disability. It is almost certainly associated with the famous Huguenots who fled from France in the 17th century. They mainly found their way to England and The Netherlands, or if not, to the various Protestant enclaves in Germany and Switzerland. Those that came to England found that the spelling of their name underwent a transposition to a 'sounds like' English form. The first such recording may be that of Richard Tortesse who married Bridgett Broiwne at the church of St Peter-le-Bow in the city of London, on February 22nd 1680, whilst other examples found in the county of Norfolk include Rachel Tortus at Syderstone, on August 5th 1788, Sarah Tortoise at Swafield on Apriul 3rd 1795, and Ann Tortice who married William Pinnock at Attleborough on November 26th 1839.
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