This uncommon surname is a variant of the more familiar Masters, itself either an occupational name for someone who was master of his craft, deriving from the Middle English "maister" (Old French "maistre", Latin "magister"), or a nickname for someone who behaved in a masterful manner. In early instances this distinguishing surname was frequently borne by substantial freeholders, for example franklins, who had labourers under them to work their land. In Scotland the eldest sons of barons held this title, and the name may also have been acquired by a servant who worked in the household of the eldest son of a baron. The possessive "s" attached to the surname indicated either "servant at the master's (house)", as in William atte Maystres (Staffordshire, 1327), or else a reduced from of "son of"; hence, a patronymic of Master (see below for earliest recording of same). In the modern idiom the name is spelt: Masters, Ma(r)sterson and Marsters, the initial "r" in the last being a dialectal intrusion. On November 30th 1647, Ursula Marsters and Henry Burton were married at St. Matthew's, Friday Street, London, and on February 22nd 1747, John Marsters married Elizabeth Mesnard at St. George Mayfair, Westminster. On May 13th 1832, Edwin, son of Charles Marsters, was christened at St. Peter's, Leeds, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hubert Mastres, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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