The ancient surname of MINCHIN was a locational name 'of Minchinhampton' a spot in County Gloucestershire. The name was derived from the Old English word Myncen. Local names usually denoted where a man held land. The name is also spelt MINCHEN, MINCHON and MINCH. The name was unconnected with Ireland before the Cromwellian period when it became firmly established in the Roscrea area of Offaly and north Tipperary. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but most of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. Early records of the name mention MINCHENHAMTONE (without surname) 1221 Yorkshire and Robert MINCHINTON of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Busherstown, Ballynakill, County Tipperary. Granted in Ulster in 1720 to Humphrey Minchin. Esq. 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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