Recorded in over fifty spelling forms including Marshal, Marshall, Marschall, Marschalleck, Marshalleck, Marskell, Mascall, Maskal, Maskell and Maskill, this is an English and French surname, but one of ultimately pre 7th century Germanic origins. Although generally regarded as deriving from the French word "mareschal", the ultimate origin of the word lies in the Old High German "marah" meaning a horse, plus "scalc", a servant. This indicates that the term "marshal" was originally occupational for one who looked after the horses, a very important function from the most ancient times in history'. By the 11th Century whatever the original meaning and however high or low the status, the word useage had developed to that of the most important person in a noble household, and as the highest office of state 'The Lord Chief Marshall'. In England where the earliest surname recordings are to be found, a good example is that of Rainald le Mareschall in the charters known as "Documents relating to the Danelaw", for the county of Lincolnshire, in the year 1140. There are no less than fifty-eight British coats of arms, and a similar number on the Continent, granted to members of this illustrious 'family'. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Godfridus Marescal. This was dated 1086, in the famous Domesday Book for the county of Wiltshire. Godfridus was a Frenchman, who was granted lands in England by King William 1st, following the successful conquest of 1066. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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