This interesting surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, is a topographical name for someone who lived by or in a marsh or fen, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "mersc" meaning "marsh". The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below). Further recordings include one Henry del Merse (1212) in the Curia Regis Rolls of Yorkshire, and Isabel ate Mershe (1273) in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire. Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Mar, Mash, Marsch and Marsh. Recordings of the surname from the London Church Registers include; the marriage of Henry Marsh to Margaret Hayle, on December 3rd 1547, at St. Lawrence Jewry; on October 4th 1558, Hugh Marsh married Lucy Kyngston, at St. Mary Somerset; and the christening of Arther Marsh took place on May 13th 1562, at St. John, Hackney. One of the earliest settlers in America was John Marsh, aged 26 yrs., who sailed from the Port of London in May 1635, aboard the "Plaine Joane", bound for Virginia. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godard le la Merse which was dated 1194, in the "Pipe Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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