Recorded in many spelling forms including Mandefeld, Mandifield, Manifield, Manifold, Manifould, Manterfield and the more usual Mansfield, this is an English surname. However spelt it is locational, and probably from the town of Mansfield, a parish north of Nottingham on the river Maun, in the county of Nottinghamshire, although as shown below a "French" origin, at least for some name holders, is possible. Recorded as "Mamesfeld" in the Domesday Book of 1086, the place was so named from an Ancient British (pre-Roman) hill-name "Mam", meaning breast-shaped, with the later addition of the Anglo-Saxon "feld", meaning open country suitable for agriculture. From an early date the surname became confused with the Norman locational name of "de Mandeville" as is evidenced in the recording of Elizabeth Mansfield or Mandeville, born at Ragnall, Nottinghamshire, in 1449. However in 1469, when she married William Neville at Ragnall, only the surname Mansfield appears in the register. Other early recordings include Alice Mandifield, christened at Worksop, Nottingahmshire, on July 4th 1582, and Elizabeth Manifolde who married Edmund Swindells at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on October 30th 1608. John Mansfield, who embarked from London on the ship "Suzan and Ellin", bound for New England in April 1635, was one of the earliest recorded settlers in America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robertus Mannsfeld. This was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax returns of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11nd of England, 1377 - 1399. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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