The surname of MARSH was derived from the Old English word 'mersce 'a locational name, the dweller near the marsh. Local names usually denoted where a man held land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention MERSE (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1066 Duke William of Normandy conquered England. He was crowned King, and most of the lands of the English nobility were soon granted to his followers. Domesday Book was compiled 20 years later. The Saxon Chronicle records that in 1085 'at Gloucester at midwinter, the King had deep speech with his counsellors, and sent men all over England to each shire to find out, what or how much each landowner held in land and livestock, and what it was worth. The returns were brought to him'. William was thorough. One of his Counsellors reports that he also sent a second set of Commissioners 'to shires they did not know and where they were themselves unknown, to check their predecessors' survey, and report culprits to the King'. The information was collected at Winchester, corrected, abridged, and copied by one single writer into a single volume. Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were copied, by several writers into a second volume. The whole undertaking was completed at speed, in less than 12 months. Goddard de la Merse, was recorded in the year 1194 in County Somerset. Mersh Gibwyne, was documented in the year 1292 in County Berkshire. Katerina del Mersh (huswyfe) of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Peter Fox married Elizabeth Marshe, St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1567. William Woods and Isabel Marsh were married at the same church in the year 1578. At first, the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing a draped garment worn over the armour. The associated arms are recorded in Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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