This surname of MINSHALL was an English habitation name from a pair of villages in Cheshire, on either side of the river Weaver. The name was derived from the Old English MANNSCYLF. The earliest of the name on record appears to be MANESHALE (without surname) who was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Most of the place-names that yield surnames are usually of small communities, villages, hamlets, some so insignificant that they are now lost to the map. A place-name, it is reasonable to suppose, was a useful surname only when a man moved from his place of origin to elsewhere, and his new neighbours bestowed it, or he himself adopted it. William Mynshall was documented in Cheshire in the year 1359, and William Minshall of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Later instances of the name include Thomas Minsull of Eaton, Tapporley, Cheshire, who was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1580, and Ralph Minshull of Minshull appears in the same Wills in 1602. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. 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. At first the coat of arms were 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 his armour. Richard Davies and Elizabeth Minshull were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1746, and Nathan Minshall and Esther Clench were married at the same church in 1765.
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