The surname of MUIR was derived from the Old English word mor - the dweller beside the moor or heath. The earliest on record in Scotland was Thomas de la More, who was executor of a will in 1291. William de la More was a juror on the lands of Lady Elena la Zuche, in Conyngham in 1296. John Myr of Enerothyll was a witness to a charter in the year 1460. Johannes Mur held a tenement in Glasgow in 1458. Patrick Mur of Cloncard, a follower of the earl of Cassilis, was respited for murder in 1526. The name has also been spelt Moare 1650, Mur, 1508 and Mwy, 1513. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. A notable member of the name was Thomas Muir (1765-99) the Scottish advocate, born in Glasgow. He advocated parliamentry reform, was transported for sedition to Botany Bay, but escaped in 1796. He died in France of a wound received in 1796 on a Spanish frigate in a fight with British vessels. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Cassencarry, Scotland, 1773, now represented by Muir-Mackenzie of Dublin, bart.)
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