Recorded in sveral forms as shown below, this is an English surname but of Old French origin. It is locational or residential from either Vize, a hamlet near Ashwater, or from a former hamlet now known as Vyse Wood, near Morthoe, both in Devonshire; or from Devizes, in Wiltshire. This now large town was formerly known as "The Devise" or later "The Vyse". The derivation of the placenames is from the Old French word "devise", meaning a boundary. An important boundary must once have run past these places. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. An early example of the recording was that of John de la Vise in the list of Place-names of Devon in 1330 . In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Vice, Vise, Vyce, Vyse, Vize and Fice, and an early recording is that on June 12th 1710 of the christening of William, the son of John and Jane Vyse, at St. Bride's Fleet Street, in the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert atte Vise. This was dated 1327, in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 11nd, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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