Recorded as Maur, Maure, Mauret, Maurice (English & French), Mauro (Italian) Mauri and Mor (Portugese), Moro (Spanish) and many others, this is a surname of ultimately Roman (Latin), pre Christian origins. It is ethnic and derives from "maurus" meaning moorish, or literally dark. This was on the basis that the Moors from Morocco were dark, and they had brought themselves to world notice by conquering parts of Spain and defeating the upto then all conquering Roman army. It is therefore perhaps surprising that during the Dark Ages from the 5th to 10th century a.d, thename as Maur in its many varied forms, became a popular personal name in the days before surnames, being used in the Christian world as a baptismal name for any child with dark hair or dark complexion. Introduced into Britain by the Norman-French invaders after 1066, it was first recorded in the Latinized form as Mauricius de Edligtona in the documents of the Danelaw for the city of London in 1176, with the first recording of the the surname only shortly afterwards. This first recording of the family name anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Jasce Mauricii, and was dated 1191. It appears in the Pipe Rolls of the city of London, during the reign of King Richard 1st. He was known to history "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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