The surname of MASSHEDER is of problematic origin. It is suggested that the name derives from the Tudor surname MASHERUDDER (documented in County York in 1517). This would be an occupational nickname for a worker in a brewery, from the Middle English 'mash' meaning malt, mixed with hot water to form 'wort' and 'roter'. i.e. a rudder-shaped implement used to stir the fermenting mass. Many modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. Early records of the name mention Richard Maschrother, who was documented in 1498 in the County of Yorkshire, and Robert Masherudder appears in Yorkshire in the year 1517. Peter Masrether was recorded in 1584 in County Essex, and Janet Masheder and Agnes Masheter were listed in the Lancashire Wills in 1637.
Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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