Recorded in a number of spellings including Molyneux, Molineaux, Molines, Mullineaux, and Mollyneux, this is a surname of French, which is widely recorded in the British Isles. It is of locational origin from a place in the departement of Seine-Maritime, in the province of Normandy, called Moulineaux, and is so named from the plural form of the word "moulin", meaning a mill. The surname was introduced into England both by the Normans in 1066, and later by the Protestant Huguenots 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. This was dated 1100, in 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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