This distinguished name, with spellings which include Molyneux, Molineaux, Molines, Mullineaux, and Mollyneux, is French. It is of locational origin from a place in Seine-Maritime, Normandy, called Moulineaux, so named from the plural form of the Old French "Moulineau", a diminutive of "moulin", meaning a mill. The surname was introduced into England both by the Normans in 1066, and later by the Protestant Huguentos of the 17th century. It is particularly well recorded in Lancashire from the beginning of the 12th Century, when the family were granted the manor of Sefton by Roger de Poitou. Other early recordings include; Richard de Molinaux and Roger de Molineus, of Lancashire, in 1212 and 1259 respectively, whilst in 1578 John Molynex, also of Lancashire was a student at Oxford University. An Irish family of the name claim descent from Sir Thomas Molyneaux of Calais who settled in Ireland in 1576, and became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1590. Amongst the notable namebearers mentioned in the National Biography of Britain is Sir Richard Molyneux (1593 - 1636), the Receiver-General of the duchy of Lancaster, who was created Viscount Molyneux of Maryborough in the Irish Peerage in 1628. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Molines, a Norman, which was dated circa 1100, the roll of Battle Abbey, during the reign of King Henry 1st, 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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