This unusual surname is one of the many forms of the famous surname of French pre 10th century origins, Marshall or in its early spelling "Mareschal". The ultimate origin of the word lies in the High German word "marah" meaning a horse or mare, plus "scalc", a servant, indicating that the term was occupational for one who looked after the horses. By the 13th Century, however, the name had developed from the designation of a groom or farrier, to that of a most important servant in a great household, or in the various royal households, the high official of state. Early examples of the surname recordings include Rainald le Mareschall in therolls known as the "Documents relating to the Danelaw", for the county of Lincolnshire, in 1140. In its less usual spellings one of the first recordings is that of Jean Mercial, possibly a French Huguenot refugee, in the register of the church of St Vedast, city of London, on November 26th 1560, whilst on March 5th 1663 Richard Mersell was christened at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney. On September 7th 1784 William Mursell was a witness at the Tabernacle Church, Finsbury, city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is believed to be that of Godfridus Marescal, which was dated 1086. This was in the Domesday Book for the county of Wiltshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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