Recorded as Man, Mann and the patronymics Manns and Manson, this is an English surname. It has several possible origins. The first being from the pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon and Old German word "mann" meaning man, and probably used as a nickname for a fierce or strong person or for a man as for some reason, contrasted with a boy. Alternatively the source could be from the pre 7th century English personal name "Mann", which was still in use in the 12th Century. Although the exact sense is not always clear, and varied by circumstances, it is generally accepted that the meaning ranges from friend, associate or foreman, to servant, but it also may be feudal and correspond to such a phrase as "homo Bainardi", the man of Bainard, one who owed Bainard service of some sort. Another possible origin is from the French province of Maine, as in Johannes de Mann of Yorkshire in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379. Early examples of the surname recording from church records include Robert Mann who married Avis Hankel at St. George the Martyr, Canterbury in 1577, and Daniell Manns a witness at St James, Clerkenwell, in 1720. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of William Man. This was dated 1185 in the register of the Knights Templar, for the county of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. 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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