This famous surname is popular in all the counties of the British Isles. It is however arguably French, and as such derives from the personal name "Maurice", itself from the Latin word "maurus" meaning moorish, or dark and swarthy. Introduced into Britain by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, the name was first recorded in England in 1176 when Mauricius de Edligtona appears in the documents of the Danelaw, for the city of London. The surname dates back to the end of the12th century (see below), and further recordings include: John Morice (1275) in the Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire; Simon Morys (1296) in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex; and Robert Morisse (1308) in the Chartulary of the Priory of St. Thomas, the Martyr, near Stafford, Staffordshire. Early London church registers include exasmples such as the christening of William Morris, the son of John Morris, on August 15th 1563, at St. Andrews Undershaft, and the christening of Sara, the daughter of Robart Morris, on June 21st 1590, at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate. Davie Morris, aged 18 years, was an early emigrant to the New World. He embarked from London on the ship "Truelove" bound for the Bermudas, in June 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jasce Mauricii. This was dated 1191, in the Pipe Rolls of the city of London, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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