This is a noble English and sometimes Irish surname, but one of ultimately Norman-French origins. It originates from the town of Lassy in Calvados, France, and the original name holders came to England with the army of William, Duke of Normandy in 1066. The place name is derived from the Gaulish personal name, "Lascius", itself of biblical and Roman origins. The brothers Ilbert de Lacy and William de Lacy both founded notable and distinguished families in later centuries, with one of Ilbert's descendants being John, the first earl of Lincoln, one of the noblemen who compelled King John to sign the famous Magna Carta in 1215, which helped in time to guarantee freedom for all citizens. William's descendants distinguished themselves in Ireland under King Henry 11 (1154 - 1189), whilst another descendant became Count Peter Lacy (1678 - 1751), and eventually military adviser to Czar Peter the Great, of Russia. There are three spellings of the name in the modern idiom, Lacey, Lacy and Lassey. Examples of the surname recordings over the centuries include Peter Lacye who married Hester Shawe in London in 1571, whilst William Lacey was an early emigrant to the New World colonies. He left the port of London on the ship "Thomas and John" in June 1635, bound for Virginia. No less that twenty four coats of arms have been granted to this illustrious family, among them that of the Lacys of Herefordshire, dated from the reign of Edward 1st (1272-1307). The arms have the blazon of a gold field charged with a red fesse, and in chief three red martlets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Laci. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Yorkshire. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.