This distinguished surname has two distinct possible origins, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Marks may be a patronymic form of the male given name Mark, from the Latin "Marcus", believed to derive ultimately from Mars, the Roman God of War. The popularity of the name throughout Europe was largely due to St. Mark the Evangelist, author of the second Gospel, who eventually became Bishop of Alexandria and patron of Venice. The first known British bearer of the name was a certain Marcus, proclaimed Roman Emperor by local troops in A.D.406. Early examples of the surname include: Robertus Marcus (Hampshire, 1148), and Philip Marc (Nottinghamshire, 1209). One John Marks of Devonshire, and a George Marks of Cornwall were entered in the Oxford University Register in 1575 and 1593 respectively. The surname may also be of topographical origin, from residence by a boundary mark or border district, from the Olde English "mearc", mark, border. Mark near Highbridge in Somerset is named from the above element, and in some instances, the name may be locational from this place. One Adelolfus de Merc was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Essex. It was a usual medieval practice to add a final "s" to monosyllabic locational names. A Coat of Arms granted to the Marks family is a red shield, charged with a silver lion rampant and a gold engrailed bordure. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robertus Markes, which was dated 1288, in the "Court Rolls of the Abbey of Ramsey", Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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