This unusual name is of Old French origin, introduced into England initially in the years following the Norman Conquest of 1066, in the forms Moret, Morret and Mauret. These were surnames formed from diminutives of the Old French personal name "Maur", in the Middle English vernacular "More", and showing the French diminutive suffix "-et(te)". The given name derives from the Old French "more", Moor, swarthy, from the Latin "Maurus", ultimately from the Phoenician "mauharim", Eastern. This was the name of several early saints, and was also found as a nickname for someone with a particularly dark, swarthy complexion. Early recordings of the surname include: Hugo Maurus (1186, Cambridgeshire), William Mor (1201, Kent), and Thomas le Mor (1201, ibid.). In some instances the modern surname may derive from a Huguenot re-introduction of the name in the 17th Century; one Pierre, son of Pierre and Catherine Moret, was christened at the La Patente French Huguenot Church in Spitalfields, London, on November 3rd 1689. Other recordings of the name from London Church Registers include: the christening of John, son of John Moritt, on October 20th 1622 at St. Martin's, Ludgate, and the marriage of John Morritt and Hannah Smart at St. George's, Mayfair, on October 29th 1749. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Morret, which was dated May 24th 1573, marriage to Avis Nookes, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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