Recorded as Mesa, Messa, the diminutive Mesias and Mesius, and probably others, this is a surname of several potential origins. The first and possibly most likely is from the word Roman word 'mensa' meaning a table, through the later 3rd century Spanish 'mesa' of the same meaning. It was used in a transferred topographical sense to describe a person who lived on a plateau or flat lands. Another possible origin is from the Latin word 'messis' meaning a harvest, and hence an occupational name for somebody who kept watch over the harvest, to drive off brigands or wild animals.A third possible origin is Hebrew, from the word 'mezer' meaning a knife maker. Occupational surnames whilst amongst the first to be created, usually only became herditary, if and when, a son followed his father into the same line of business. A final possible origin is from a rare personal name of Ancient Greek or Hebrew origins. It derives from the word 'messe' meaning mass, which in ancient times described a sexton of a synagogue. Hereditary surnames were first created in England and Scotland from about the 12th century. At first these were almost ebnntirely for members of the nobility, church leaders, and wealthy land owners. Also it was at least two centuries centuries before some other European countries adopted them, and the 19th century before most got around to recording them with any accuracy.
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