This interesting surname is of Norman origin, and derives from the Norman personal name "Wazo", apparently from a compound Germanic name with the first element "wod" to go. The personal name originated as a nickname for someone who was full of energy and always "on the go". Tethion filius (son of) Wasso is noted in the Olde English Bynames Register of Cornwall (circa 1000), and "Wazo" and "Gazo" (without surname) are listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. The popularity of the name is borne out by the number of surnames it generated, which range from Wase, Wace, Waison and Wass to Gaish, Gass and Gaze. The surname first appears on record in the late 12th Century (see below). William Was is registered in the Curia Regis Rolls of Cambridgeshire (1210), and William Wace is noted in the Curia Regis Rolls of Oxfordshire (1220). Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include; Robert Wash, who married Joan Estrich on November 18th 1579 at St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, and Christopher Wash who married Katherine Wood on August 7th 1611 at St. Giles', Cripplegate. A Coat of Arms granted to the Wash family is a Barry of six silver and red, and on a red canton a silver mullet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wase, which was dated 1194, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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