The surname of DE LACEY was an English and Irish habitation name from LASSY in Calvados, France, so called from a Gaulic personal name LASCIUS. Other spellings of the name include LACEY, LASSEY, DE LACY, LACY and LEACY. Two members of this family came to England with William the Conqueror. One of them, Ilbert de LACY was the ancestor of John, Ist Earl of Lincoln, who in 1215 was involved in compelling King John to sign the Magna Charter. The 3rd Earl, Henry (1249-1311) was a close counsellor of Edward I and Edward II. His house in London gave its name to Lincoln's Inn, the law school, which now stands on the site. Another branch is descended from Ilbert's brother William, Ist Baron LACY, reputed to have fought with the Norman forces at Hastings. His most renowned descendant was Hugh (died. 1186), Ist Lord of Meath, who in 1172 received the submission of Roderick, King of Connaught, on behalf of Henry II. From him many notable Irish soldiers claimed descent, among them Peter, Count LACY (1678-1751), who was born at Limerick, where the name is still found. He fought for the Jacobite cause and in the service of France and Poland, eventually becoming military adviser to Peter the Great of Russia. His son Maurice Francis LACY (1725-1801) was a field marshal in the Austrian army. The LACEY's were also active at this time in the service of Spain, including Don Luis LACY, who fought in the Peninsular War. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries.
Other records of the name mention Roger Laci listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Robertus de Lascy of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Peter Lacye and Hester Shawe were married in London in the year 1571. Thomas Lasey married Mary Vipoint, St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1761.
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