This is an English surname. Originating from the villages of Great and Little Massingham in the county of Norfolk, this ancient surname is locational. It is well recorded in the surrounding villages of Field Dalling, Binham, Langham, and in the county town of Norwich itself, suggesting that the nameholders, or at least many of them, do derive from the original land owning family of the 13th century. The name is tribal and probably Anglo-Saxon, and translates as the 'hamm' (place or village) of the Maessa (Mass) tribe. These people are also recorded in Lincoln, as 'Massingberd', the castle (berg) of the Maessa tribe. The early recordings include Adam de Messingham in Lincoln in the Hundred Rolls of that county for the year 1273, and John de Messingham in the London Rolls for the same year. Amongst the early church recordings is that of William Massingham who married Ursula Wade at Fincham, Norfolk, on June 13th 1596, William Messengham, christened at Sharrington, Norfolk, on July 1st 1691, and Marry Massingham who married one Thomas Wilson at Norwich Cathedral, on October 14th 1701, in the reign of William of Orange (1689 - 1702). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Massingham, which was dated 1272, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Cambridge, during the reign of King Edward 1st, 1272 - 1307. 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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