Recorded as Le Marquand, Le Marchant, Marchant, Marchent, Marchand, Marquand, Merchant and others, this is a surname of French origins but much recorded in the British Isles and the Channel Islands. It derives from the word "marquand" meaning a merchant or trader, and was probably introduced into England at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. It was originally given as an occupational name to a buyer and seller of goods. The ultimate root of the name lies in the Latin word "mercis", meaning commerce or merchandise. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and became hereditary when a son or sometimes a daughter, followed the father or mother into the same occupation. If they did not, then the name usually died out. This surname was first recorded at the beginning of the 13th Century (see below), and other examples include Roger Marchaunt and Herueus Merchant who were listed as witnesses in the Assize Court rolls of Yorkshire in the year 1219. In 1240 Ranulph le Marchand appeared in the Fine Court Rolls of Essex, and Reginald le Marchant was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Cambridge in 1247. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Marchand. This was dated 1202, in the Pipe Rolls of Berkshire, during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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