As may be expected, this surname found in many variant forms is of Olde french origins, being introduced into England after the 1066 invasion by the Normans. The derivation is from the 8th century German personal name "Magisind" itself a development of the original latin "Magnus" meaning "The great one". The surname origin is complicated in England by the fact that a monastery in Essex called "Measaunts Charity" was created by one John Meysaunt in the 13th century, and it is probable that after dissolution by Henry V111 in 1535, the ousted inhabitants took the name of the abbey as their surname. Today the site is known as Measaunts Farms. Perhaps surprisingly the surname does not seem to have any Huguenot 17th century associations, all known recordings being apparently English. The early recordings include William Maysaunt in the 1297 subsidy rolls for Yorkshire, he was apparently a freeman of York. Later recordings have as examples Beniamyne Mesant, son of Rychard Mesant, christened at the church of St Giles Cripplegate, London, on June 6th 1597, and Estar Messent, daughter of Richard Messent, christened at the same church of St Giles, on April 19th 1601. We believe that the father (Richard/Rychard) is the same person. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Helie Moysant, which was dated circa 1200, The Danelaw rolls of Lincoln, 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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