This surname of MANCHA is an English locational name, chiefly found in the West Midlands. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and was a Norman habitation or regional name from the Old French word MANSEL, inhabitant of Le Mans, or the surrounding area of Maine. The town was originally named CEROMANNOS, from the name of a Gaulic tribe living there. The name was shortened to CELMANS and then became Le Mans. It was also a status name for a particular type of feudal tenant, who occupied a manse, a measure of land enough to support one family. The name was rendered in ancient documents in the Latin form MANSA. Other spellings of the name include MANSEL, MANCELL, MAUNCELL, MANCEAU, MANCOIS, MANCAIS and MANCHEL. A family of this name trace their descent from Walter Mansel (born in 1166) who held lands in Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire. His son John rose to power as Lord High Justiciar of England and keeper of the Great Seal in 1246-8. Other records of the name mention Thomas le Mansell, 1273, County Buckinghamshire and John le Maunsel, was documented there in 1313. Henricus Maunselot was the rector of Gateshead, Newcastle in the year 1322. Alicia Maunsell of Yorkshire and Johannes Mauncell, were listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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