This interesting surname, with variant forms Le Blanc, Blanc, Blanche and Blanque, derives from the Old French word "blanc", white or fair, itself coming from the Old High German "blanc", bright, shining, beautiful, and was originally given as a nickname to someone with fair hair or a pale complexion. The surname, without the definite article "le", first appears on record towards the end of the 12th Century, (see below). Other early recordings include Elianora Blanche - the 1273 "Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", and John Blaunk - the Calendar of Letter Books for London, dated 1293. The forms Le Blanc and Le Blanc are widely recorded in London French Huguenot church registers from the early 17th Century, having been introduced by Huguenots fleeing religious persecutions in their own county. On March 26th 1615 Jehan, son of Noe and Ester Le Blanc, was christened in the French Huguenot Church, Threadneedle Street, and on November 19th 1704 Pierre, son of Pierre and Judicq Le Blanc, was christened in the Crispin Street French Huguenot Church. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nigellus Blanke, which was dated 1196, the Curia Regis Rolls of Leicestershire, during the reign of King Richard 1, "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.