This ancient surname is of French origins, and it has 'invaded' the British Isles at least twice. It is the modern spelling form of the Norman 'de la Montagne', and as such is believed to have been born by several of the followers of William the Conqueror in 1066. It later came a second time, if considerably more peaceably, being born by 17th century Huguenot refugees after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. The Irish connection came in 1170 when the name travelled to there in the army of Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, when he 'assisted' the King of Leinster in his attempt to secure a united Ireland. These early Irish 'settlers' were given lands in County Waterford where even today the name remains fairly prominent in the area. What is fairly certain is that all the 'de la Montagne' nameholders and the later 'de Montaigne' seem to have changed their spelling to Munton, Menton, Manton or Mountain. Examples of the surname recordings include William de Muntain in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Oxford, and Matilda Montem in the same roll. Later recordings include those of Margarete Mountayn of St Giles Cripplegate, London on June 24th 1568, and Richard Mountain, at St Nicholas, Liverpool, on May 11th 1788. Amongst the early settlers to the new American Colonies was Joseph Mountain aged 20 years, who embarked at Gravesend, Kent, on April 3rd 1635 in the ship 'Paul of London'. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh de Muntein, which was dated 1273, the Hundred rolls of the county of Salop (Shropshire), during the reign of King Edward 1, known as 'The hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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