Show ContentsMarches History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cornwall in southwestern England provides the original birthplace of the surname Marches. As populations grew, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. This was due to the heavy political and cultural influence of the English upon the Cornish People at the time that surnames first came into use. Local surnames were derived from where a person lived, held land, or was born. While many Cornish surnames of this sort appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames derived from lost or unrecorded place names. The name Marches history began on a boundary between two districts. Literally the name meant "dweller by the boundary" from the Old English word "mearc." 1

Early Origins of the Marches family

The surname Marches was first found in Essex where "Adelolfus de Merc held lands under Eustace Earl of Boulogne. His estate of Tollesbury was still held by by one of his descendants, Henry de Merk, in 1251. This name, variously given as Merkes, Markes, and Mark, was derived from Marc in Normandy. Geoffrey de Marco and his sons are mentioned by Ordericus Vitalis (591). It is still retained by many places in Essex. There is Le Marck, or Marks Hall, in the parish of Leyton, Mark’s Tay (held under the Mandevilles “from the earliest times”), the parish of Markes Hall, Merks in Dunmow (possessed since the days of the Conqueror), and others. The family was wealthy, numerous, and greatly sub-divided. Aitropus, or Eutropius, and Simon de Merc occur in the Rotuli Curiæ Regis of 1194-98: and the latter is also entered in the Monasticon as a benefactor of Thornton Abbey. He and his son Ingelram held Marks, in the parish of Great Dunmow, of the King in capite of his Honour of Bologne, and had certainly three, if not more, successors in the male line. " 2

Rogerus filius Markes was found in Hampshire according to the Curia Regis Rolls of 1207 as was Robertus Marcus in 1148 at Winton. Simon del Merc was in the Curia Regis Rolls for Essex in 1208. A few years later, Philip Marc was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Northumberland in 1209 and later, Robertus Markes was listed in Cheshire in 1288. 1

Early History of the Marches family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Marches research. Another 254 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1148, 1194, 1210, 1216, 1226, 1291, 1296, 1459, 1613 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Marches History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Marches Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Mark, Marks, Markes, Marke and others.

Early Notables of the Marches family

More information is included under the topic Early Marches Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Marches family to Ireland

Some of the Marches family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 78 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Marches migration to the United States +

A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Marches:

Marches Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Marches, who settled in Philadelphia in 1836

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3 on Facebook