Recorded as Carus, Carass, Caress, Cariss, Carass, Caris, Carriss, and possibly Cars and Carss, this is an English as well as in some spellings Dutch, medieval surname. If English, research indicates that the development was from the medieval phrase 'carre-hous' as shown in the recording of Thomas de Carrehous, of Sheffield, Yorkshire, in the Poll Tax Rolls for that county in 1379. 'Carr House' survives as part of the town of Doncaster, although 'Carrehous' formerly part of the city of Sheffield seems to have disappeared, whilst the village of Carrhouses in Lincolnshire, may also have been a source.The name is of pre 8th century Norse-Viking origins, and describes a house on a kjarr, a word for an area of dry land on a marsh. In The Netherlands the origin is quite different being the personal name Macarious. This is of Roman origins, means splendid or similar, and is believed to have been the name of one of the ruling clans. As Caris it is rare, but reasonably well recorded in Dutch church registers from the 17th century. The first recorded spelling of the name in any spelling is believed to be that of Robert de Karhouses. This was dated 1332, in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as 'The father of the English navy', 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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