Recorded in several forms including Mancer, Manser, Mansuer, Manssuer and Mansewer, this is an Anglo-French surname, and sometimes at least of biblical (Hebrew) origins. Usually it is considered to be a 'crusader' name. That is to say a name which was brought back to northern Europe by returning soldiers from the 12th century crusades. It became the medieval fashion for biblical names to be given to the children of crusaders, in honour of their fathers attempts to free the Holy Land from the infidel. So popular was this (Christian) fashion that these names of which Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are prime examples, ultimately became (and remain) the norm in many countries for both surnames and first names, the local 'native' names being often lost to history. This is one of the rarer examples of a biblical name, the derivation being from the name 'Manasseh' meaning 'One who choses to forgive'. The name (as a first name) being recorded in England as early as 1166, when Manasserus de Danmartin is recorded in the 'Red Book of the Exchequer' for the county of Suffolk. As a surname it is about a century later, Walter Manser being recorded in the tax rolls known as 'The Fees' also for Suffolk in 1250. There is a second possible origin, and that is from the French 'manche' meaning handle, and as such describing a maker of handles for knives and swords. Recordings are rare but do include Richard le Mancher, of London, in the Subsidy Roll list of 1292.
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