MARSER was derived from the Old French word 'mercier' a dealer in clothes, a draper, one who dealt in textile fabrics, especially in silks, velvets and other costly materials. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form of MERCARIUS. Variant spellings of the name include MERCIER, MERCHIER, MERZARI, and MERSIER. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. A family of this name can trace its ancestry to Thomas MERCER, who was empowered by Edward III in 1341 to obtain money from the Constable of Bordeaux to raise troops in Aquitaine. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Other records of the name mention Gamel MERCER who was recorded in 1168 in London. John le MERCIER was documented in Gloucestershire in 1196. Hamo le MERCHIER, 1204, County Oxford. Edward le MERCER, County Lincoln, 1273. Johannes MERCER of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of the year 1379. Baptised. Success, son of Thomas MERCER at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1694.
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