Recorded in several forms including Mear, Meer, Meares, and the dialectals Marnes, Marns and Mearns, this is an English surname. It is topographical for a person who lived by a pond. The derivation being from the Olde English pre 7th century word "mere" meaning a lake or pond, or a perhaps from the word "moere" meaning a parish or county boundary. The surname dates back to the mid 13th Century (see below), and further early recordings include: Gregory de la Mere, listed in the Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire, and Adam del Mere in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1307. Recordings from surviving church registers of the city of London include: the marriage of John Meres and Margarett Francis at St. Margaret Lothbury, on February 30th 1563; the christening of Joan Meares on November 18th 1587, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster; and the christening of Lydia, daughter of William and Elizabeth Mearns, at St. Sepulchre church, on May 10th 1702. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert atte Mere This was dated 1269, when he was a witness at the Assize Court of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. 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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