Recorded as Marwood and sometimes the dialectal Merwood, this is an English surname. It has to possible origins. Firstly it may have been a nickname for a person believed to have the power of casting the 'evil eye.' This is from the Norman French word 'Malreward', a compound of 'mal', evil or bad, with 'reward' from the Old French 'regard', meaning to look. Secondly it can be locational from two places called Marwood in the counties of Devon and Durham. The former is recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Merode' and means boundary wood.The place in Durham has an early recording as 'marawuda' circa 1050 in 'St Cuthbert's History of Durham. This is from the Old English pre 7th century 'marawudu', or the greater wood. Two early recordings of namebearers in Durham are Roger Marwood married Isabel Browne on 16th December 1600, at Boldon, and John Marwood, son of Matthew Marwood was christened on 23rd September 1652 at Whickham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Malregard, which was dated circa 1170, in the register of the Abbey of Rivaulx, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, 'The Builder of Churches', 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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