This very early surname is found in a number of spellings including Carus, Carass, Caress, Cariss, Carass, Caris, Carriss, and possibly Cars and Carss. The early research indicated that the development was from the medieval word 'carre-hous' as shown in the recording of Thomas de Carrehous, of Sheffield, Yorkshire, in the 1379 Poll Tax Rolls for that county. 'Carr House' still survives as part of the town of Doncaster, and it is possible that this is the source of the surname. However it is equally possible that another 'Carrehous' may have formed part of Sheffield. There is also the village of 'Carrhouses' in Lincolnshire, which may have been a source. What is certain is that the name is of Norse-Viking origins, and describes a house on a Kjarr, a word for an area of dry land in a marsh. In the past researchers have suggested that the name translates as 'the house where carts were kept', but the locality of the name clearly defines a Nordic locational origin. Early recordings include James Carous in the Friary Rolls of Yorkshire in 1555, William Caras (1619) and Robert Carus (1709), being from the same source. The coat of arms also granted in Yorkshire has the blazon of a blue field, a black chevron charged with three red knights spurs, between nine white cinquefoils, spaced five and four. The crest is a black eagle displayed, beaked and spurred in gold, on the breast a cinquefoil. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Karhouses, which was dated 1332, in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as 'The father of the English navy', 1327 - 1377. 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.
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