Martell Family History
The family history of the ancient name Martell
was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Variants of the name Mortell include Martell, Mortel, Martel, Morte and Murtel. These names are derived from the ancient Latin first name Martellus but can also be derived from the French word 'martel' meaning 'hammer', describing a hammer wielded by a warrior in combat. This name is often of English descent and is found in many ancient manuscripts in that country. A Sir William Martell and Sir John Martel were both recorded in the Harleian Roll of Chivalry in the thirteenth century. A William Martell was recorded in the 'Placita quo Warranto' Rolls in the year 1293.
Names were recorded in these ancient documents to make it easier for their overlords to collect taxes and to keep records of the population at any given time. When the overlords acquired land by either force or gifts from their rulers, they created charters of ownership for themselves and their vassals. It was by the method of creating and updating these old reference books that they were able to maintain their authority and enforce laws.
In Ireland the names Mortell and Martell have been found in Counties Tipperary, Cork and Limerick since the thirteenth century and are rendered as Mairtéil in Gaelic.
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Martell