Recorded as Mane, Main, Maine, Mayne, and the patronymic or locational Mains, this very interesting surname can be English, Scottish, Dutch-Flemish, French, Scandanavian, or German in origin. However in almost all cases the derivation is from the Roman (Latin) word 'magnus' meaning strength. As such in pre medieval times it was usually given as a baptismal name of endearment, although later in the Middle Ages when surnames began to be formed from about the 12th century a.d., it was usually a nickname for a very strong man, or given the robust humour of the period, the reverse! However to add to the confusion the name can also be locational from the French province of Maine, whilst the Scottish name holders, the name is particularly popular in Aberdeenshire, are of Viking stock, possibly from Iceland where the spelling is Magnus. The name development includes the recordings of Adam de Meine of Somerset, England in 1205, although he was almost certainly from France, William Asmayns of Lincolnshire in 1255, and Richard le Mayne of Sussex in 1327. In Scotland the spelling was originally Mane, generally becoming Main or Mains in the 17th century. It is said that in the year 1895 there were over thirty men called John Mains in the town of Nairn. The coat of arms granted in 1685 has the blazon of a blue field, charged with a chevron voided in red, between two fleur de lis in chief and a unicorns head in base. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Main. This was dated 1204, in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire, England. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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