This unusual name is, in most cases, of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a variant of the English topographical surname "Marsh", which denoted someone who lived by a marsh or fen. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "mersc", meaning "marsh" or "fen". Many surnames were created in the Middle Ages from topographical terms and features such as bridges, woods, hills, brooks, conspicuous trees, etc., since these were sufficient to distinguish an individual's residence in the medieval community. In some cases the surname may be derived from an ancient Hebrew personal name, recorded in Genesis Chapter 10 Verse 23: "The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash". The following unusually named couple were married in 1758 at St. George's, Hanover Square, London: Perfect Mash and Familiar Ford. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Masshe, which was dated 1524, in the "Suffolk Subsidy Rolls", during the reign of King Henry V11, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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