A Brief Summary by Geoffrey Diss

I found that Diss, a Saxon word which means Dyke or Ditch, was one of the few surnames to have been in uninterrupted use since the 13th century.

There are references in the Norwich Court Leet and throughout East Anglia to the surname in the 14th and 15th centuries i.e. John de Disse. Various Diss cleric's have left interesting wills in this period The earliest reference I have found is one William de Disse of County Essex in 1273. Walter Disse, a Carmelite Friar and Abbot of Norwich, Keeper of the King's Boats and Confessor to John of Gaunt and his Queen, was perhaps the most notorious.

I do not believe that we have any connection with the French families named Diss. Nor do I believe that we are of Huguenot descent.

I do believe that we are East Anglian with our roots back to Diss in Norfolk in the 14th and 15th centuries. My guess is that the general path our ancestors followed was Diss - Norwich - Bury St Edmunds - Ely - Balsham - and that a Diss from the Cambridgeshire /Essex/ Suffolk border moved down the A604 to Halstead in the early 1600s.

I do believe that we Disses with an English background are all descended from two 18th century marriages.  (nothing found to contradict this sofar 2019)


'The Halstead Disses'

from the marriage

between William Diss and Judith Rayner on 29th October 1755

at St Andrew's Church Halstead.


William Diss circa 1733-1821 Origins - Geoff's thoughts in 1989?


The text of a contribution to the Halstead and District Local History Society


Halstead in our Blood




'The West Wickham Disses'

from the marriage

between Robert Diss and Ann Winnings

at West Wickham on 25 May 1774


It is possible that we have a common forebear.

Unless, of Course, somebody knows better??