This is a surname of early French origins, perhaps dating back to the conquest of 1066, or introduced shortly thereafter. It was also (see below) reintroduced by the Huguenot Protestant refugees in the period after 1580 when religious persecution became the norm in France. The name is occupational, it derives from "Messier" and describes a hayward, one who was responsible for the gathering of the winter hay, and the protection against loss. The Coat of Arms from Lyon, is one of the most unusual recorded showing a tree proper on a gold field, with a saw fessways in the act of cutting down the tree. Presumably this is an allegorical reference to harvesting, whilst the gold field represents the wealth of the harvest and the golden corn. In England the usual name spelling is Messer, although there are many variants. Included in the early recordings is Erkbald Le Messer of Lincoln in 1180, whilst William Le Messier is found in the Nottingham Rolls of 1187. The later forms include Roger Maysor, son of George Maysor, wife not recorded, christened at All Hallows Church, London Wall, on May 15th 1561, and Susenne Masure, who married Guillelmus Cognart at the French Huguenot Church, Threadneedle Street, on January 21st 1623. On February 25th 1730, Peter Maseres married Magdalen Dupret at St Mary Le Bone, whilst on July 9th 1790, Sarah Measor married William Playstead at St Andrews Church, Soho, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Messer, which was dated 1172, in the Danelaw Rolls of Lincoln, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The church builder," 1154 - 1189. 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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