This interesting and unusual surname, with variant forms Marter, Martyr etc., derives from the old French "martre", (Germanic "marder"), meaning marten, and was originally given either as a habitational name to one who lived at the sign of the marten, or as a nickname to someone thought to bear a fancied resemblance to the animal. The surname first appears on record in the early part of the 12th Century, (see below). Other early recordings include: Walter Martre, the 1148 "Pipe Rolls of Hampshire", and William le Marter the 1275 "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire". On September 23rd 1611 Oliver Marder, an infant, was christened in St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London, and on April 28th 1656 Magdalene, daughter of Stephen and Barbara Marder was christened in Merchingen, Mosbach, Baden, Germany. The marriage of Petrus Marder to Maria Mohr took place in Daun, Rheinland on February 11th 1768. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a marten rampant with his forepaws against the trunk of a palm tree proper on a blue field. Three golden mullets or knight's spurs on a black chief comprise the upper third of the field. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Lamartre, which was dated 1130, "The Pipe Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Henry 1st, "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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.