During the Middle Ages surnames were first used in order to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same christian name. As taxation, under William The Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066, became the law, documentation became essential, and names were chosen from a man's trade, his father's name, some personal physical characteristic, or from his place of residence. In the case of the name MANSHIP it was a locational name from MINSKIP in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and from MANCHIPS SHAW in County Surrey. There is also a place called MANCHIP FIELD, in Bishops Stortford, from where the original bearer may have taken his name. It was originally derived from the Old English word GEMAENSCIPE, literally meaning the dweller at the community land. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Ailsi de MENSCIPE, who was documented in Yorkshire in the year 1167, and Philip MANSIPE was recorded in County Norfolk in the year 1189. Robert MANSIPE was recorded in Berkshire in the year 1247. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Later instances of the name mention Alexander de MANSHIPE, who was recorded in 1319 in County Surrey and London, and John MANSCHUPE of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice
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