Recorded in various spellings including Mortimer and the more unusual Mortimore, this is one of the great surnames of history. It is often English, can be Scottish and is sometimes Irish, but in all cases the origin is Norman-French. It was Introduced into England in 1066 in the person of Roger de Mortemer, one of William, The Conqueror's commanders. Such was his success that he was rewarded with major land grants, mainly in the Welsh Marches. In the famous etymological book "Patronymica Brittania" it is recorded that "the castle and barony of Mortemer lie in the arrondissement of Neufchatel in Normandy". Certainly after 1066 the nameholders played a considerable part in British history, with William de Mortimer being a coronation witness when William, The Lyon, was crowned king of Scotland in 1165. Later Roger de Mortimer, the earl of March, forced King Edward 11nd of England in 1327 to abdicate in favour of his son, Edward 111rd. Early examples of the surname recordings include: Ralph de Mortimer of Lincoln, and Hugh de Mortuomari (a latinised form), both in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, whilst the feudal arms list known as the Derings Roll, records that Sir Hugh de Mortimer of Richmond Castle, bore at the battle of Falkirk in 1298, and at the siege of Carlaverock in 1300, a coat of arms with the blazon gules, two bars vair. It is said that the name is a description of an area of Normandy which was low lying and swampy, and therefore mort-mer, or a deathly water. The first recorded spelling of the family name is said to be that of Hugh de Mortemer, which was dated 1055, when he was the bishop of Coutances, in France.
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