This unusual and interesting name is of Italian, Latin origin, and derives from one of the earliest Roman names, "Horatius". The name is thought to mean something connected with "hora", the Latin for "hour", but the original meaning has been lost. The personal name is best known from Horatius Cocles, who held the bridge over the Tiber against the Etruscan army, as told by Macaulay in "lays of Ancient Rome", and from the great Latin poet "Horace", whose name was Quintus Horatius Flaccus. The first use of the personal name in England was confined to the learned section of society, as in "Oratius Presbiter", recorded in the 1193 Pipe Rolls of Essex, and the surname is rarely found there after until the 17th Century, when the name was re-introduced from Italy as "Orazio" and "Horatio". The modern surname from this source can be found as "Orris(s)", "Oris", and "Or(r)ice". One William Orriss married Ann Warwick at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, London, on the 18th February 1777. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Oras, which was dated 1312, in the "Essex Feet of Fines", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernavon", 1307 - 1327. 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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