This distinguished surname has a number of possible origins; the first, and most likely, is a topographical name for someone who lived on a moor or in a fen, both of which were denoted by the Olde English pre 7th Century "mor", Middle English "more". "Moore" in Cheshire and "More" in Shropshire are both named with this Olde English element, and in some instances the name may be locational from either of these places. It may also have been a nickname for someone of dark or swarthy complexion, deriving from the Old French "more", dark-skinned. There was also a personal name of the same origin, which was borne by several early saints. The given name was introduced into England by the Normans, but was never as popular in England as on the Continent. In Ireland the surname originated as an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Mordha", composed of the elements "O", descendant of, with "Mordha", a byname meaning great, proud, or stately. In Scotland and Wales it was a nickname for a large man, deriving from the Gaelic "mor", Welsh "mowr", big, great. The surname was first recorded in the late 11th Century (see below), and can also be found as Moor, Moores, Moors, More and Mores. William Mor was noted in the Essex Feet of Fines (1198), and Matthew del More was listed in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire (1275). One of the earliest settlers in the New World was Leonard Moore, who is recorded as "living" in Virginia in 1624, having arrived on the "Bona Nova" in 1619. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de More, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Suffolk, during the reign of King William 1, known as "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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