This ancient and unusual name is of Old Welsh origin, although its meaning is now lost; some Welsh bardic traditions hold that the name may have originated in the Isle of Man, and may not therefore be a native Welsh or British (pre-Roman) name. The most famous Welsh bearer of the name was the 9th Century king of Gwynedd, Merfyn Frych (the Freckled), the father of Rhodri Mawr, i.e., the Great, King of North Wales from 844 - 877. The personal name was for some reason more popular in the north of England than in Wales in the medieval period; one Mervin (without surname) is recorded as rector of Chester-le-Street, County Durham, in 1085. A number of surnames have been generated by the given name, including Marvin, Mervin, Merfin, Mervyn, Marven, Mirfin and Murfin. Among the recordings in London church registers are the marriage of John Marvyn and Alice Swetman in St. Mary Magdalen, Old Fish Street, in 1563, and the christening of James Marvin at St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, on February 22nd 1658. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Mervin, which was dated 1348, Catalogue of Ancient Deeds, Herefordshire, during the reign of King Edward 111, 'The Father of the Navy', 1327 - 1377. 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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