Leach History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Leach is rooted in the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It is a name for someone who worked as a doctor. Throughout the Middle Ages, doctors were known as "leaches" as the practice of bleeding sick people was the generally accepted manner of curing them. There are countless people in the Middle Ages who died thanks to the common cold; not because the virus killed them, but because they bled to death on the advice of their physicians. Bleeding was accomplished by placing a dozen or so leaches on the person who was ill so that they could remove the poisons that were making them ill, hence the name "leach" for the occupation of doctor. It is small wonder that illness was so feared in the medieval period; many people died from illnesses that would not have otherwise killed them because their doctors were weakening them through loss of blood.

Since the 1970s, Hirudo medicinalis, better known as the European medicinal leech has been routinely used to drain blood after reconstructive surgery, particularly in finger reattachment and reconstructive surgery of the ear, nose, lip, and eyelid.

Early Origins of the Leach family

The surname Leach was first found in Oxfordshire where the earliest records of the family were found as Edmund le Leche and William le Leche who were both listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. A few years later, Robert le Leche was listed in the Writs of Parliament of 1307. [1]

Further north in Scotland, many records were found including: Henry Leche held a tenement in Glasgow in 1325. "Henry Leche, is later referred to in a safe conduct by Edward III of England in 1348 as "Hector medicus David de Bruys." From another reference to him in 1369, he turns out to be a MacBeth, perhaps one of the family of hereditary doctors of that name so famous in West Highland history. Wilham de Lech or Leche was burgess of Aberdeen, 1362. He may be William Leche, merchant of Aberdeen, whose goods were plundered in England, 1370, when his ship was driven ashore in Kirklee Rode, Suffolk." [2] They also settled in Monteith where they gave their name to Leitchtown.

Early History of the Leach family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leach research. Another 431 words (31 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1363, 1372, 1367, 1386, 1421, 1440, 1487, 1452, 1484, 1500, 1511, 1520, 1779, 1638, 1550, 1767, 1639, 1580, 1587, 1666, 1624, 1429, 1466 and are included under the topic Early Leach History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leach Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Leach are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Leach include: Leach, Leech, Leche, Leitch, Leich, Leetch and others.

Early Notables of the Leach family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Leach Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leach World Ranking

In the United States, the name Leach is the 686th most popular surname with an estimated 42,279 people with that name. [3] However, in Australia, the name Leach is ranked the 731st most popular surname with an estimated 5,307 people with that name. [4] And in New Zealand, the name Leach is the 637th popular surname with an estimated 1,124 people with that name. [5] The United Kingdom ranks Leach as 432nd with 14,866 people. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Leach family to Ireland

Some of the Leach family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Leach migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Leach or a variant listed above:

Leach Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Lawrence Leach, who settled in Salem in 1628
  • Lawrence Leach, who landed in New England in 1628 [7]
  • Margaret Leach, aged 15, who landed in America in 1635 [7]
  • Margaret Leach, who settled in Boston in 1635
  • Roger Leach, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Leach Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Archibald Leach, who arrived in North Carolina in 1794 [7]
Leach Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Leach, who landed in America in 1800 [7]
  • George Leach, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1806 [7]
  • Dugald Leach, aged 30, who arrived in North Carolina in 1812 [7]
  • Isaac Leach, who landed in New York, NY in 1827 [7]
  • William Leach, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Leach Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Thomas Albert Lorue Leach, who arrived in Michigan in 1903 [7]

Canada Leach migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Leach Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Eliz Leach, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thomas Leach, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • James Leach, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Sgt. James Leach U.E. (b. 1748) born in Windham, Connecticut, USA from Connecticut, USA who settled in York County, New Brunswick c. 1787 he served in the Prince of Wales American Regiment, married to Mary Pringle having 1 child, he died in 1810 in Vermont [8]
Leach Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Richard Leach, who landed in Canada in 1816

Australia Leach migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Leach Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Leach, (b. 1774), aged 29, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Isaac Leach, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Mr. Richard Leach, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Caledonia" in 19th June 1822, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • Mrs. Eleanor Leach, (b. 1796), aged 27, Irish house maid born in Dublin who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 20th November 1823, arriving in New South Wales, Australia and Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), she died in 1838 [12]
  • Mr. George Leach, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Countess of Harcourt" on 29th April 1828, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Leach migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Leach Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Leach, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • George Leach, aged 44, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Mary Leach, aged 46, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • William Leach, aged 19, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Alfred Leach, aged 17, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Leach migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [14]
Leach Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • John Leach, who arrived in Barbados in 1679 with his servants

Contemporary Notables of the name Leach (post 1700) +

  • Archibald Alexander "Archie" Leach (1904-1986), birth name of English-born, American actor Cary Grant named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute
  • W. J. Leach, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1940 [15]
  • W. G. Leach, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Tennessee, 1936 [15]
  • Samuel Leach, American Democratic Party politician, Presidential Elector for Illinois, 1836 [15]
  • W. D. Leach, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Minnesota, 1912 [15]
  • Russell Leach, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Michigan, 1968 [15]
  • Roy Leach, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Michigan, 1952 (alternate), 1956 [15]
  • Robert J. Leach, American Republican politician, Chair of Hancock County Republican Party, 1983 [15]
  • Reuben Leach, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 21st District, 1862-63, 1865-67 [15]
  • Owen Leach, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for Alabama, 1972 [15]
  • ... (Another 80 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Fraterville mine
  • Mr. James M. Leach, American coal miner at Fraterville mine in Tennessee, on the 19th May 1902 when an explosion collapsed the mine; he died [16]
  • Mr. William Leach, American coal miner at Fraterville mine in Tennessee, on the 19th May 1902 when an explosion collapsed the mine; he died [16]
  • Mr. Luke Leach, American coal miner at Fraterville mine in Tennessee, on the 19th May 1902 when an explosion collapsed the mine; he died [16]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Harold G Leach (b. 1908), English Mechanician 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Marylebone, London, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. John Catterall Leach (b. 1894), MVO & DSO, English Captain from England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [18]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Eric Charles Leach (1920-1939), British Stoker 2nd Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [19]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. John Neil Leach, Jamaican Waiter from Kingston, Jamaica, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [20]
  • Mr. John F. Leach, English Waiter from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [20]


Suggested Readings for the name Leach +

  • Leach-Leech Family by Anna Laura Griffith.
  • William Adams (also Leach), 1594-1661, of Ipswich, Massachusetts by Kenneth L. Bosworth.

  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  6. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  7. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  10. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Almorah voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1817 with 180 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/almorah/1817
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/brothers
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th April 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/countess-of-harcourt
  14. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  15. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 28) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  16. ^ News paper article Fraterville Mine Disaster retrieved on 6th August 2021. (Retrieved from http://www.tn.gov/tsla/exhibits/disasters/fraterville.htm).
  17. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  18. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  19. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  20. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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