This surname of CREECH is a Scottish habitation name meaning 'one who came from CREICH' in Fifeshire, where a family of this name rented land for several generations. The parish of CREICH, in the northern part of Fifeshire contains the remains of an ancient castle, but there is no trace of any family bearing the name occupying the lands. Douenaldus de CREYCH, a cleric, was a witness to a charter in 1241, and Simon de CREYCH appears in 1394. Master Richard CREYCHE of Scotland, was granted a safe conduct to travel into England in 1423. Andrew CREECH is recorded in Dunfermline in 1585. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. A notable member of the name was William CREECH (1745-1815) the Scottish publisher, born at Newbattle, Midlothian. He studied medicine at Edinburgh, but became a partner in a printing firm in 1771, and sole proprietor in 1773. His premises became a centre of literary and social activity in Edinburgh, and he published the first Edinburgh edition of Robert Burns, the works of Henry Blair, Beattie and Dugald Stewart. 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.
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