Recorded as Minchin and the locational Minchinton, this is an English surname. It derives from the Old English pre seventh Century "mynecen", meaning a nun, whilst the town name as Minchinton is locational and describes a person who came from Minchinghampton, in Gloucestershire. This town name refers to a nunnery owned and managed by the nuns of Caen in France, and is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname as Minchin does not signify a person who was a nun, but more likely was a theatrical name for someone who played the part of a nun (women were not allowed to take part as actors), in the famous travelling theatres of the medieval period. It is also said that given the robust humour of the period that the surname may be a nickname of derision for one of a most un-nunlike character! Early examples of the surname recording include: Peter Minchun in the Pipe Rolls of Devonshire for the year 1205 in the reign of King John of England, whilst Robert Mincin appears in the Subsidy Tax Rolls for the county of Sufflok in 1381. Other later recordings include: Elizabeth Mynshon, who was christened at St. Giles Cripplegate, London, on January 2nd 1589, and on September 19th 1761, Charles Minchinton was a witness at St Botolphs without Aldgate, city of London. The first recorded spelling of the surname is shown to be that of Alduredus Minchun, which was dated 1190, in the Pipe Rolls of Worcestershire. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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