Recorded as Trice and Treice, this unusual name is of early medieval English origin. It is a form of the more familiar surname Tree, Trees or Treece, all being topographical names given originally to people who lived near a conspicuous tree or group of trees. Trees were important boundary and even tribal markers in ancient times, and meetings of local councils and courts were often held at a prominent tree. The modern surname developed from the Old English pre 7th century word "treow". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of medieval England. Early examples of surname recordings taken from surviving church registers from Elizabethan times include the marriage of Timothy Trice and Ellen Snell at Willingham by St. Ives, Cambridgeshire, on November 23rd 1596, and that of John Treice who was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate, London, on January 9th 1606. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry en le Tres. This was dated 1327, in the Subsidy Rolls of Derbyshire, during the reign of King Edward 11nd of England, 307 - 1327. 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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