This French name of MAYSON was originally rendered in Old French as MAISSENT. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and Messants Farm in Debden, County Essex, owes its name to John Maysaunt or Mesande, sometime during the 15th century. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. Early records of the name mention MEISENT (without surname) who was documented in London in the year 1200, and MAYSANT (without surname) appears in 1273 in Lincolnshire. William Mayson was recorded in County Surrey in the year 1297. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MESSENT, MEAZON, MEZEN and MESSEANT. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. 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.
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