Leach Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
The popular Anglo-Saxon last name Leach has several origin theories. Spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Leache, Leech, Leeche, Leche, Leetch, Leitch, Letch, Leich, and Leachman.
bloodletting with leaches
First, the name is thought to be an occupational surname denoting a physician or doctor, from the Old English word laece, derived from the medieval medical practicing of applying leeches to a sick person in the process of bleeding. Wikipedia states the following on the matter: “Bloodletting is the withdrawal of blood from a patient to prevent or cure illness and disease. Bloodletting, whether by a physician or by leeches, was based on an ancient system of medicine in which blood and other bodily fluids were regarded as "humours" that had to remain in proper balance to maintain health. It is claimed to have been the most common medical practice performed by surgeons from antiquity until the late 19th century, a span of almost 2,000 years”.
Second, others believe it is a topographic surname denoting a person who lived near a boggy stream, derived from the Old English word læcc.
Third, and similar to the second theory, some believe it originated as a habitational name denoting a person from Eastleach or Northleach in Gloucestershire, towns derived from the same Old English word, likely built near a marshy stream. Similarly, the book Patronymica Britannica states Leach was a parish united with Marlston, in county Chester, England.
Fourth, Henry Barber, in his 1903 book British Family Names, asserts Leach derives from the old German personal (first) name Liche.
Early Bearers of the Leach Surname
The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists two bearers of this surname: Edmund le Leche and William le Leche, both in Oxfordshire. Robert le Leche was documented in the Writs of Parliament in 1307 AD. John le Leche was documented in Rilet’s Memorials of London. Henry Lecheowned a tenement in Glasgow, Scotland in 1325 AD. A William Leche, merchant of Aberdeen, Scotland, was documented in 1370 AD when his ship was driven ashore and plundered in Suffolk. John Leitch was documented in 1363 as Leche and in 1372 as Lithe or Leche, in Scotland. Robert Leche, the seneschal to the Earl of March and Moray, was documented in 1367. The Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire in 1379 AD also list one bearers: Robertus Leche, a taverner by trade. Ferchard Leche had a grant of land in Assynt, Scitkand in 1386.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Leach ranks 714th popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following four states: Vermont (311th), Ohio (403rd), Michigan (441st), and Rhode Island (498th).
The surname Leach frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (412th), Scotland (1,950th), Wales (384th), Ireland (3,648th) and Northern Ireland (3,160th). In England, it ranks highest in Devon and Greater Manchester. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in Argyll and Bute. In Ireland, it ranks highest in Munster. In Wales, it ranks highest in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (1,299th), New Zealand (633rd), Australia (728th), and South Africa (2,007th).
Leach Family Tree & Leach Genealogy
Leach of Leigh, England and Massachusetts, US
Edward Leech was born in England in 1535 AD. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Jones and and his wife Joan, and had a son with her named Richard. Richard Leech (or Leeche or Leach) was born in Leigh, Lancashire, England around 1511 AD. In 1576, he married Ann, daughter of Richard Yate, and had the following issue with her: Lawrence, Thomas, William, James, Francis, Ann, and Arthur. The son Thomas was born in Leigh in 1579, married Mary Frye in 1603, and had a son named William. Another son, Lawrence or Laurence Leach, was born in Ash, Somerset, England c. 1579 AD. In 1605, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Mileham and Rose Peake, in Hurst, Berkshire in 1605. He went to colonial America, settling in Massachusetts, around 1628-1630, perhaps aboard the Abigail. He was the father of the following issue: Robert Sr., Clement, Margaret, Ambrose, John, Edmund, Richard, Rachel, James, Giles B. At least five of these sons went on to have children. These sons are discussed below:
1) Robert Leach Sr. was born in Gravesend, Kent, England in 1605. He married twice: Mary or Miriam and Alice Elwell or Alls. He had the following issue: Mary, Sarah, Robert Jr., Samuel, and Bethiah. His son, Samuel Leach was born in Manchester, Massachusetts in 1655. He married twice: Arabella Norman and Hannah Baldwin, and had the following issue with him: Penelope, Catherine, Samuel Jr., Hannah, Richard, and Benjamin.
2) John Leach was born in Sonning, Berkshire, England prior to 1616. He married twice: Elizabeth Waldron and Sarah, daughter of Robert Conant and Sarah Horton, and had a son named John. His son John was born in Massachusetts c. 1648. In 1670, he married Mary Edwards, and had two issue: William and Hannah. William was born c. 1680 in Massachusetts. He married Tryphosa Herrick in 1703 and had two sons with her: William and Elijah.
3) Captain Richard Leach was born in Sonning, Berkshire, England prior to 1619. In 1654, he married Sarah Ann, daughter of John Fuller and Anne, and had the following issue with her: John, John, Rachel, Sara, Elizabeth, Mary, Samuel, Richard, and Hannah. His son John Leach was born in 1643. He married twice: Elizabeth Flint and Mary Edwards. He was the father of the following issue: Sarah, Samuel, Richard, Abigail, Mary, Lydia, and Ruth.
4) James Leach was born in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts after 1626. In 1652, he married Jane, daughter of Thomas Turpin, and had the following issue: John, Thomas, James, Mary, and Nathaniel I. Nathaniel I was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire c. 1685. In 1708, he married Magdalene Williams and had issue with her as follows, prior to his 1759 death in Kittery, Maine: James, Nathaniel II, Kathrine, John, Mary, Joseph, Benjamin, Hannah, Ebenezer, Samuel, and Josiah.
5) Giles B. Leach was born in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts in 1623. In 1656, he married Anne, daughter of Thomas Nokes and Sarah Thackwell, and had the following issue with her: Sarah, Elizabeth, Samuel, David, John Sr., Benjamin Sr., and Ebenezer. In 1656, he married Anne Nokes and had the following children with her: Sarah, Elizabeth, Samuel, David, John Sr., Benjamin Sr., and Ebenezer.
For more information about the descendants of Lawrence Leach, please see the following book published in 1898, titled Leach Family Record.
Leach of Edinburgh, Scotland and Maryland, US
John Leach was born in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland in 1640. He married Alicia Ireland. He went to colonial American. He had a son with her named Ambrose. Ambrose Leach was born in Calvert, Maryland in 1668. He had two sons: Ambrose and William Jr.
1) Ambrose Leach was born c. 1720. In 1749, he married Elizabeth Nearn, and had a son named Benjamin. Benjamin was born in Randolph County, North Carolina around 1760. He married Eleanor Trott and had a son with her named James H. Leach Sr.
2) William Leach Jr. was born in Montgomery County, Maryland in 1739. He was the father of the following children prior to his 1808 death in Kentucky: William Brooks, John S., Martha, and Susanna. His son, John S. Leach, was born in Sinks, West Virginia in 1765. In 1796, he married Rachel Jane Bowman and had a son with her named Frederick Bowman Leach, born in 1803.
Marriages of Leachs
1) Benjamin Leach married Elizabeth Am in Wombourne, Staffordshire, England in February 1667
2) John Leach married Hannah Brown in Cheshire, England in April 1760
3) Petter Leach married Holywell, Flintshire, Wales in July 1768
4) George Leach married Anne Thomas in Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, Wales in 1761
5) James Leach married Alice Sharples in Blackburn, Lancaster, Chester in May 1776
6) Robert June Leach married Elizabeth Hoskins in Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts in 1713
7) Benjamin Leach married Mary Abbitt in Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts in 1748
8) David Leach married Hannah Newcomb in the Plymouth, Massachusetts in June 1751
9) John Leach married Middleborough, Plymouth, Massachusetts in March 1759
10) Ginger Leach married Benjamin Jones in Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts in June 1749
Early American and New World Settlers
Some of the earliest settlers in colonial America bearing this name include:
1) Lawrence Leach came to Salem, Massachusetts in 1628
2) Margaret Leach, age 15, came to New England aboard the Planter in 1635
3) Margaret Leach, age 22, came to New England aboard the Susan & Ellin in 1635
4) Roger Leach came to Virginia in 1635
5) John Leach came to Salem, Massachusetts in 1637
6) Robert Leach came to Salem, Massachusetts in 1637
7) Rebecca Leach came to Virginia in 1639
8) Richard Leach came to Salem, Massachusetts in 1648
9) William Leach came to Virginia in 1650
10) Charles Leach came to Virginia in 1655
11) James Leach came to New Hampshire in 1655
12) Peter Leach came to Virginia in 1655
13) John Leach came to Maryland in 1662
14) Hannah Leach came to Maryland in 1665
15) Josiah Leach came to Maryland in 1665
15) William Leach came to Maryland in 1665
16) James Leach came to Virginia in 1666
17) Ann Leach came to Maryland in 1677
18) William Leach came to Virginia in 1679
19) Susan Leach came to Virginia in 1680
20) George Leach came to Virginia in 1680
21) Thomas Leach came to New London, Connecticut in 1680
Several thousand members of the Leach family came to the United States through Ellis Island, during the nineteenth century, including:
1) Thomas Leach came from England aboard the Saint Paul in 1903
2) Henry Oswald Leach came from Liverpool, England aboard the Arabic in 1904
3) Frederick William Leach came from aboard the Adriatic in 1907
4) Bridget Leach came from Creggs County, Galway, aboard the Cedric in 1906
5) George Leach came from Middlesboro, England aboard the Baltic in 1906
6) Frances Gertrude Leach came from Somerset, England aboard the Caronia in 1907
7) Henry Leach came from London, England aboard the New York in 1907
8) James Leach came from England aboard the City of Antwerp in 1868
9) Julia Leach came from England aboard the City of Brooklyn in 1874
10) Jane Leach came from England aboard the City of Montreal in 1880
11) George Leach came from England aboard the City of Brussels in 1872
12) Edward Leach came from Ireland aboard the Britannic in 1880
Some of the earliest settlers in Canada bearing this name include:
1) Elizabeth and Thomas Leach came to Nova Scotia in 1750
2) James Leach, age 27, came to Nova Scotia in 1774
3) Sarah Allen Kelley Leach came to Nova Scotia in 1773
4) James Leach, along with his wife and four children, came to Quebec in 1821
5) William and Isabella Leach came Scotland to Quebec in 1840
Some of the earliest settlers in Australia bearing this name include:
1) Isaac Leach came from Lancaster, England to New South Wales aboard the Almorah in 1817
2) William Leach came from Kent, England to New South Wales aboard the Albion in 1828
3) Thomas Leach came to Adelaide aboard the Bolton in 1848
4) James Leach came from Lancaster, England to Van Diemen’s Land (present day Tasmania) aboard the Adelaide in 1849
5) Roger Leach came to Adelaide aboard the Gipsy Queen in 1850
6) William Leach came to Victoria in 1854
7) Joshua Leach, age 28, came to Victoria in 1862
8) James Leach came to Victoria in 1854
Some of the earliest settlers in New Zealand bearing this name include:
1) John Leach came to Wellington in 1840
2) George Leach, age 44, along with wife Mary, and children William, Alfred and others came to Wellington aboard the Oliver Lang in 1856
3) Frank Leach, a farm laborer, came to Auckland aboard the Rangitiki in 1883
4) Charles Leacher of Gloucestershire, England came to Hawkes Bay aboard the Helen Denny in 1874
5) John Leach came to Auckland aboard the Invererne in 1875
6) John H. Leach came to Wellington aboard the Halcione in 1873
There are hundreds of notable people with the Leach surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include:
1) Cecil Leach (1894-1973) was an English cricket player born in Littleborough, Lancashire who played from 1923-1928
2) Dewitt Clinton Leach (1822-1909) was a member of the US House of Representatives for Michigan from 1857-1861, born in Clarence, New York.
3) Robin Douglas Leach (1941-2018) was an English entertainment report and a report from London, best known for hosting the TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
from 1984 to 1995.
4) Sir Henry Leach (1923-2011) was an officer in the British Royal Navy, born in Newtown Abbot, having served in World War II and the Korean War, and was considered influential in convincing Margaret Thatcher to attempt to retake the Falkland Islands from Argentina.
5) James Madison Leach (1815-1891) was member of the US House of Representatives for North Carolina from 1859-1861 and again from 1871-1875, educated at the United States Military Academy
6) James Albert Smith Leach (1942) was a member of the US House of Representatives from 1977-2003 and again from 2003-2007, having held several other national political positions, born in Davenport, Iowa
7) Vice Admiral David Willoughby Leach (1928) was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy and served as Chief of Naval staff from 1982-1985, born in Subiaco, Western Australia
8) General Sir Edward Pemberton Leach (1847-1913) was an Irish general in the British Army, a Victoria Cross recipient, born in County Londonderry, Ireland, who served in the Second Anglo-Afghan War and Mahdist War.
George Emerson Leach
9) George Emerson Leach (1876-1955) was a Major General in the United States Army, as well as the Mayor of Minneapolis at various times between 1921-1941, having served in three wars: Pancho Villa Expedition, World War I, and World War II
10) Brigadier General Henry Edmund Leach (1870-1936) was a British Army Officer who served in the Second Boer War and First World War, the son of Sir Edmund Leach of Corston House, Pembrokeshire, Wales
11) John Catterall “Jack” Leach (1894-1941) was a British naval officer and Captain of the HMS Prince of Wales, who served in both World War I and II
12) Reginald Joseph Leach (1950), nicknamed The Riverton Rifle and The Chief, was a professional Canadian hockey player who played in the NHL from 1970-1984 for four different teams: Boston Bruins, California Golden Seals, Philadelphia Flyers, and Detroit Redwings
13) Richard Max “Rick” Leach (1957) was the starting quarterback of the University of Michigan’s football team from 1975-1978, later going on to play professional baseball in the MLB from 1981-1990 for the Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, and San Francisco Giants, born in Ann Arbor, Michigan
14) Robert Milton Leach (1879-1952) was a member of the US House of Representatives for Massachusetts from 1924-1925, having also been a Captain in the Ordnance Division of the US Army during World War I
15) Rosemary Leach (1935-2017) was a stage, film, and television actress born in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England, best known for her roles in movies such as That’ll Be the Day and A Room with a View
16) Sheryl Lyna Stamps Leach (1952) is the creator of the children’s TV show Barney & Friends, born in Dallas, Texas
17) Terry Hester Leach (1954) was a pitcher in the MLB from 1981-1993 for four different teams (ex. New York Mets), born in Selma, Alabama
18) Thomas Andrew Leach (1877-1969) was a professional baseball player who played in the MLB from 1898-1918 for five different teams, including the Louisville Colonels and Chicago Cubs, born in French Creek, New York
19) William Leach (1870-1949) was a British Labour Party politician who served as a Member of Parliament for Bradford Central from 1922-1924, 1929-1931, and 1935-1945
Sergeant Levi Leach, Civil War veteran (1818-1895)
Leach America Civil War Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Leach who served in the American Civil War, including the following:
1) George A. Leach of the 13th Regiment Indiana Infantry (Union)
2) Sherman M. Leach of 42nd Regiment Ohio Infantry (Union)
3) John H. Leach of the 76th Regiment New York Infantry (Union)
4) Preston G. Leach of the 15th Regiment Illinois Cavalry (Union)
5) Cornelius Leach of the 1st Regiment Michigan Light Artillery (Union)
6) Edward C. Leach of the 39th Regiment Massachusetts Infantry (Union)
7) John W. Leach of the 22nd Regiment Wisconsin Infantry (Union)
8) Jesse Leach of the 2nd Regiment Arkansas Infantry (Confederacy)
9) Edmund K. Leach of the 108th Regiment Virginia Militia (Confederacy)
10) William H. Leach of the 60th Regiment Tennessee Mounted Infantry (Confederacy)
11) George J. Leach of the 11th Battalion Louisiana Infantry (Confederacy)
12) Baxter M. Leach of the 1st Regiment Florida Cavalry (Confederacy)
13) Abner U. G. Leach of the 108th Regiment Virginia Militia (Confederacy)
14) Alfred P. Leach of the 35th Regiment Mississippi Infantry (Confederacy)
Leach America Revolution Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Leach who served in the Revolutionary War, including the following:
1) Private Mark Leach of Massachusetts
2) Lieutenant Simeon Leach of Massachusetts
3) Private Benjamin Leach of New Hampshire
4) Private James Leach of Connecticut
5) Corporal James Leach of Virginia
6) Private Samuel Leach of New Hampshire
7) Private Thomas Leach of New Hampshire
8) Private William Leach of Connecticut
9) George Leach of Virginia
10) Sergeant Joseph Leach of New Hampshire
11) Private Lemuel Leach of New Jersey
12) Private Andrew Leach of Virginia
13) Private Jabez Leach of Rhode Island
14) Private Josiah Leach Jr.
15) Matross Christopher Leach
Major General Sir Edmund Leach (1836-1923)
Sir John Leach (1760-1834), Master of the Rolls