Recorded as Mulcaster, Muncaster, and Moncaster, this is an English surname, but one of Roman origins. It is locational from a place called Muncaster in Cumberland. The placename was recorded as "Mulcaster" in 1150 and as "Molecastre" in 1190. It derives from the Olde English pre 7th century personal name "Mula", with the earlier Latin "castra", meaning a fort or a walled town; hence "Mula's Roman fort". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th century (see below), and examples include Robert de Molecaster in the Hundred Rolls of Cumberland in 1279, whilst on November 7th 1564, John, the son of Ralph Muncaster, was christened at St. James's Clerkenwell, and William Mulcaster on April 29th 1627 at St. Giles Cripplegate, both in the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Mulecastr. This was dated 1219, in the Assize Court rolls of the county of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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