Recorded in several spellings including Mart, Marte and Martt, this is apparently an English surname. The logical explanation is that it is a short or nickname form of the famous name 'Martin', and indeed this may well be so, as even today children often refer to their friend Martin as Mart. 'Martin' is a development of the Roman (Latin) Mars, the god of war, and has been highly popular as a given name throughout the many warlike periods of history. Although not strictly a name associated with the Christian faith, Martin was a name brought back into Northern Europe by the famous crusaders of the 12th century, and both as a first name and a surname it has continued in popularity ever since. However, at least in England, there are other possible explanations. It may derive from the Olde English pre 7th century 'marr' meaning moor, and hence a dweller by a moor, or from the word 'mort', which has nothing to do with death, but referred to a young salmon, and therefore by association a salmon fisherman. The word 'mart' meaning a market, is of Dutch origin, and is a word that has been in use in the U K since the 16th century. This is considered too late to have influenced the development of a surname, but it is possible, anything is 'possible' with surname development! Early examples include Edward Marte, a witness at the church of St Timothy the Less, in the city of London, on May 2nd 1630, Helinor Mart, who married John Whittingham at St Nicholas church, Cole Abbey, on October 14th 1656, and Delby Martt, the son of Richard Martt, christened at All Hallows church, London wall, on April 23rd 1685.
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