This interesting name, with variant spelling Mare, derives from the Olde Gaelic "maor", a steward, bailiff, or warden, and was originally given as a Scottish occupational name to an officer of the courts whose duty it was to execute summonses and other legal writs. Those who held hereditary appointments were termed "mairs of fee", whereas others were referred to as Praeco Regis (heralds of the king). In an act of the Scottish Parliament, dated 1426, the mair is described as the "kings sergeant", and entitled to bear a "horn and wand". The surname was first recorded in the early part of the 13th Century (see below), and one Symon le Mare, of Perthshire, rendered homage to Edward 1 of England in 1296, and a Eustace Marr or Mare was collector of contributions of the sheriffdom of Perth in 1360. John Marie, a Scottish merchant, was granted a safe conduct overland to trade between Scotland and England in 1453. John Mair or Major (1469 - 1550) was professor of philosophy and divinity at Glasgow University in 1518. He published "History of Greater Britain, both England and Scotland", in 1521. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Mare, charter witness at the Priory of May, which was dated circa 1220, in the "Cartulary of the Abbey of Saint Andrew", 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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