Recorded in over fifty spelling forms including Marschall, Marschalleck, Marshalleck, Marskell, Mascall, Maskal, Maskell and Maskill, this is a surname of Franco-German pre 7th century 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, indicating that the term "marshal" was originally occupational for one who looked after the horses, 'the horse marshal'. By the 11th Century however, the word had developed from the designation of a groom or farrier, to that of the most important servant 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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