This interesting surname with variant spellings Mayne(s), Main(s), Maine, Meyne and Menne has a number of possible origins. It may have originated from the Menzies clan in Scotland as Meinn is the local Gaelic form of Menzies, itself originally being de Meyners, indicating a Norman locational name, or probably someone from the French province of Meine, neighbouring Normandy. It may also have been a descriptive nickname from the Old French "maine" meaning strength or great, thus indicating a powerful person, or from the Old French "main" meaning hand; hence person "with the hands" implying someone who had creative hands. One Mary Mayne was christened on August 1st 1570, at St. Andrew's, Holborn, London, and Augustyn Mayne was christened on October 28th 1580, at St. Michael, Bassishaw, London. An interesting namebearer was John Mayne (1759 -1836), a Scottish poet, printer and subsequently a proprietor and joint editor of the "Star". He wrote poems for magazines and was praised by Scott and Burns. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Main, which was dated 1204, witness in the "Assize Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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