Recorded in variois spellings including Marquess, Marquis, Marquiss, Marquisse, Lemarquis, Marchis, (French, and sometimes English), Marques (Spanish and Catalonian), Marquese, Marchese, Marchesi, Marcheso, Marchiso, Marchiselli (Italian), and others, this is a surname of ultimately Olde French pre 7th century origins. In most countries its rank of Marquis lies between a duke and a count, and in the British Isles between a duke and an earl. In ancient times marquis described a governor of a region or march, an important posting, but hardly so when compared with its later standing.It is said that the first family to be granted Marquis status was that of the Compte de Toulouse in the 14th century. In the British Isles the spelling is as Marquess, and his wife a countess. However whether any of the original nameholders of the surname were actually nobles is doubtful, although some may have been governors. A more likely explanation is that the name was a nickname for a person of noble appearance and manners, or perhaps given the robust humour of those far off days, the reverse! It is in unclear when the surname was first recorded as most early examples were destroyed in the French Revolution of 1792. However we do have Barbe Le Marquis, baptised at the village of Cons-le-Grandville, Meurthe et Moselle, France, on February 12th 1621, whilst in England, Thomas Marquesse was christened at Putney on April 28th 1659.
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