This interesting and uncommon name is of early medieval English origin, deriving directly from the medieval given name "Mace, Masse". The personal name is thought to be originally of ancient Germanic derivation, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Maessa", a form of "Maersa", from "Maersige", "glorious victory", or the cognate Old High German "Mas(s)o". The Olde English given name forms the first element of the placename Massingham, in Norfolk. During the early Middle Ages, however, the given names Mace and Masse came to be taken as pet forms of the popular male personal name Mathew, which is of biblical origin, ultimately from the Hebrew "Matityahu", meaning "Gift of God".Early examples of the personal name include Masse (1177, Suffolk), and Macius (1273, Devonshire). One Adam Mace was recorded in the Oxfordshire Hundred Rolls of 1276. John Mace, at the age of 20 yrs., was an early emigrant to the American colonies, leaving London on the "America" in June 1635, bound for Virginia. A Coat of Arms granted to a Devonshire family of the name depicts, on a blue shield, a silver chevron between in chief two gold mullets, and in base a dexter gauntlet, silver, lying fessways, holding erect a gold mace. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osbert Masse, which was dated 1194, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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