This most interesting and unusual surname when found in Britain, is usually of Old French origins. From this source it is either occupational and a derivative of the original Latin word "vassus", meaning originally a friend or companion. As such it was also used as a personal name, as in the recording of Vasse le Poynur, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Cambridgeshire, in 1275 having been introduced by the Normans after the Conquest of England in 1066. The name may also be locational, again of French origin, and deriving from "Vaux," a name of various places in Northern France. The translation is "the place in the valley". Finally the name can be German, and a such a development of the pre 7th century word "fas or vas" meaning round. As such it was used as a metonymic for a barrelmaker or as a nickname. 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". 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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