Recorded as Vase, Vass, Vasse, Vaus, Vaux, and possibly others, this most interesting and unusual surname when found in Britain, is usually of Old French origins. Introduced by the Normans at the famous Conquest of England in 1066, it has three possible origins. The first is from the Latin word "vassus", meaning a friend or companion and used as a personal name as in the recording of Vasse le Poynur, in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1275. Secondly it can be locational from any of the places called "Vaux," in Northern France.The translation is "the settlement in the valley". Thirdly it could be a development of the pre 7th century word "fas or vas" meaning round, and used as a metonymic for a barrelmaker or as a nickname for a 'rounded' person. A family called Vaus settled at Lanercost in Cumberland at the close of the 12th Century, and also in Dirleton in East Lothian, Scotland. Johannes de Vaus was one of the hostages for the ransom of the king of Scotland in 1174, as recorded in "Annals of the reigns of Malcolm and William, Kings of Scotland". Lancelot Vase, was recorded at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on May 20th 1599, and Robert Vass, aged nineteen, embarked from London for the New England colony of Virginia, aboard the ship "Safety" in August 1635, and was one of the early settlers. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Vaux. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of the county of Essex, during the reign of King William 1st, 1066 - 1087. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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