Recorded in a number of modern spellings including Message, Messager, Messenger and Massinger, this is usually an surname of English derivation but French origins. It is occupational and originally described a carrier of official messages and reports, either from the royalty or the nobility. The derivation is from the pre 8th century Olde French 'messagier' meaning, itself a derivative of the Roman (Latin) word 'missus', meaning 'sent'. The name is first recorded in England in the late 12th century, whilst the develpments along the centuries have included Hugh Le Messager of Middlesex in 1211, William Le Messinger of Yorkshire 1293, and Robert Le Massager of Kent in 1317. Richard Messenger is recorded in the charters known as the 'London pleas' for 1377, whilst Walter Massinger appears in the Feudal Aids list for Warwickshire in 1428. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Lucas le Mesagier. This was dated 1193, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Northumberland, during the reign of King Richard 1st of England. He was known as "The Lionheart" and reigned from 1189 to 1199. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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