This notable surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a status name for a mayor, deriving from the Middle English and Old French "mair(e)", ultimately from the Latin "mair(e)", greater, superior. In France and Scotland, the title denoted an officer who executed summonses and other legal writs, and in a Scottish Act of Parliament, dated 1426, the mair is described as the "King's Sergeant", and entitled to bear a "horn and wand". In England, the term was given to the chief officer of a borough, but occasionally may have been bestowed as a nickname on a pompous or officious person. Early examples of the surname from England include: William le Maier (Somerset, 1243); Henry Meyer and Bartholomew le Meyre (Norfolk, 1275); David le Meir (Lincolnshire, 1276); and Alan Mair (Northumberland, 1279). On October 6th 1566, Elizabeth Mayor and Richard Candye were married at St. Mary Abbots, Kensington, London, and on August 31st 1570, Alice Mayor married a Larence Banister at Croston, Lancashire. An early settler in the New World was John Mayer, who was recorded as a resident in Virginia prior to February 16th 1623. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a red shield with a fesse between three doggers, points upwards gold, the Crest being a red escallop between two golden wings on a red chapeau turned up ermine. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Mare, which was dated circa 1230, in the "Chartulary of St. Andrew's Priory", Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. 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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