This interesting surname is a variant form of Marshall, found widespread in England and Scotland, which is an occupational name from the Old French, Middle English "maresc(h)al", a marshal. This term is of Old Germanic origin, from the Old High German "marah", a horse, mare, and "scalc", servant, and was originally applied to a man who looked after horses. By the heyday of surname formation it referred on the one hand to one of the most important servants in every great household (in the royal household a high official of state), and on the other to a humble shoeing smith or farrier. Other variants of this surname include Marschall, Ma(r)skell, Maskall and Maskill. The surname first appears in the late 11th Century (see below), while other early recordings include: Hugo Maskercal circa 1087, in documents of Gilbert Crispin, Abbot of Westminster (Middlesex); Roger Mascherell, who appears in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1130; and Henry le Marscal, in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset in 1238. Robert Mascall (died 1416) was bishop of Hereford, and distinguished himself at Oxford in philosophy and theology; he was confessor to Henry 1V, circa 1400. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Goisfridus Marescal, which was dated 1084, in the "Geld Rolls" of 1084 (contained in the Domesday Book of 1086), during the reign of King William 1, known as "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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