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LEECH Family History

This interesting surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Leach may have originated as an occupational name for a physician, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "laece", one who practises healing, a physician. The above meaning was brought about as a result of the medicinal use of the leech for healing by blood-letting. The surname may, however, also have been a nickname from the bloodsucking creature, denoting a particularly demanding person, one eager to extract maximum advantage from a given situation. A quotation from Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" reads: "The divel made a reve to preche, Or of a souter a shipman, or a leche"...

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