The surname of MARTINEAU is of French and Spanish origin, a baptismal name 'the son of Martin' belonging to Mars, the God of war. This name was borne by a famous 4th century saint, Martin of Tours, and consequently became extremely popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. It is one of the few saints' names other than the name of Old English saints that was found in England before the Norman Conquest of 1066. French, or rather Norman French, was the language of the aristocracy and the upper classes in England at the time fixed surnames were being developed, it is therefore not surprising that many of our well-known family names are derived from French words. Originally only Christian or personal names were used, and although a few came into being during the 10th century, surnames were not widely used until much later, when people began to realize the prestige of having a second name. A notable member of the name was Harriet MARTINEAU (1802-76) the English writer, born in Norwich, the daughter of a textile manufacturer of Huguenot descent. In 1821 she wrote her first article. After visiting Egypt and Palestine she issued 'Eastern Life' (1848). In 1851, in conjunction with H.G. Atkinson, she published 'Letters on the Laws of Man's Social Nature' which was so agnostic that it gave much offence. A minor notable of the name is the American Perry CYRUS MARTINEAU, born on the 25th January 1918. He is a pathologist, and his appointments include Director of Laboratories and Pathologist at the City of Detroit Health Department from 1950 until 1962 and Director at the City of Detroit Receiving Hospital. He is the author of numerous articles in medical journals. In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84.
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