Recorded as Marlow and Marlowe, this interesting surname is English. It is locational from the town of Marlow in Buckinghamshire, on the River Thames. The placename is recorded as "Merlave" in the Domesday Book of 1086, from the Old English pre 7th Century elements "mere" meaning a lake, plus "lafe" remnants, hence "a boggy area remaining after a lake had been drained". The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 11th Century, (see below). One, Wido de Merlaue, is noted in the Curia Regis Rolls, Buckinghamshire, (1225), and Richard de Merlawe, appears in the Coroners Rolls of London (1325).The surname is also a variant of Marley, a locational name from any of the various places so called, for example in Devon, Kent and the West Riding of Yorkshire, the first elements of these placenames is respectively the Old English "(ge)maere" boundary, "myrig" pleasant and "mearth" (pine) marten, with the second element in each case being "leah" a wood, clearing. The surname is also found as Marlowe. On June 6th 1544, Anthony, son of Anthony Marlow, was christened at St. Mary le Bow, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edric Merlaue, which was dated 1086, The Domesday Book, Berkshire, during the reign of King William 1, "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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