This interesting surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, is a topographical name for someone who lived by a pond, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "mere" meaning "lake, pond", or a topographical name for someone who lived near a boundary, deriving from the Olde English "(ge)moere" meaning "boundary". The surname dates back to the mid 13th Century (see below), and further early recordings include: Gregory de la Mere, listed in the Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire, and Adam del Mere (1307), in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire.Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Meares, Meers, Meres, Meeres and Merris. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of John Merer and Margarett Francis at St. Margaret Lothbury, on February 30th 1563; the christening of Joan Meares on November 18th 1587, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster; and the christening of Lydia, daughter of William and Elizabeth Meares, at St. Sepulchre, on May 10th 1702. One John Mears (1695 - 1767) was an Irish presbyterian divine having studied divinity in Glasgow and received an M.A., in 1713. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert atte Mere, which was dated 1269, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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