The surname of MASSENGALE was derived from the Old French 'messagier' an occupational name, the messenger. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Other spellings include MESSINGER, MESSINGALE, MASSENGER, MASSAGER, MASSYNGER and MESSAGIER. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. The name was probably brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Early records of the name mention Lucas le MESAGIER who was recorded in the year 1193 in Northamptonshire and Richard Hugh le MESSAGE was documented in County Middlesex in 1211. William le MESSINGALE appears in Yorkshire in 1293, and Robert le MASSAGER was recorded in County Kent in 1317. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. A later instance of the name mentions Walter MASSYNGER, who was documented in 1428.
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