Recorded in over one hundred different spellings throughout Europe and including Blay, Bleay, Blaye and the rare diminutive Blaycock (English), Blais, Blaise, Blay, and diminutives Blaison, Blaisot, Blazin (French), Blasio, Blase, Biasi and diminutives Blasini, Biasett, Biagetti (Italian), Bras (Portugese), Blasius (German), Blaes (Flemish), and many others, this is a surname of pre Christian Roman-Greek origins. In the time of the Roman Empire it was the clan or family name Blasius, and as such a nickname for the first chief of the "family", a person who had a defect either of speech or appearance. The word means in Latin "to stammer", however the Greek form of "blaisos"describes someone who was bow-legged! It is unclear which the name refers to. The creation of personal names from nicknames, was a common practice throughout the centuries upto the introduction of surnames in Europe in the 12th century. Many modern-day surnames derive from such nicknames, although in most cases the original spelling or meaning has been lost. In this case the early popularity was as result of St Blaize, who it is claimed, was martyred in Armenia in the year 316. It is said that he healed a boy who was at the point of death because a fishbone was stuck in his throat. When St Blaise was imprisoned the boy's mother brought him food and candles. Hence, at the blessing of St. Blaise, sufferers from throat diseases are blessed by the application of two candles to the throat. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Hans Blasin of Rottenburg, Germany, in the year 1411 or Matzlin Blassigin of Eblingen, also Germany, in 1419, whilst Robert Blease was christened at the church of St. Mary Woolnoth, city of London in 1568, and Edmund Blackock was a christening witness at St Brides Fleet Street, also city ofd London, in 1641.