This is an Anglo-Scottish medieval surname. It is locational from 'Moneylaws', a tiny hamlet near the small town of Cornhill, in the county of Northumberland -and literally on the border between Scotland and England, a region fought over for fifteen hundred years. The Romans considered Northumberland part of England, but built their famous Hadrians wall sixty miles south at Newcastle. As a result Northumberland, Cumberland, and southern Scotland became 'Bandit country' and as much a menace to the king's of Scotland as to the king's of England.When William the Conqueror in 1070 'pacified' the north of England, he took a brief look at the area and decided it was not worth fighting over! As a result for another six centuries bands of robbers known to history as the 'Border Reivers' and often lead by local lords, terrorised as far north as Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and as far south as York, the northern capital of England. This mayhem dried up after 1603 with the death of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, when King James 1V of Scotland became (as well) James 1st of England - and the countries effectively united. Moneylaws (the place) is first recorded as Monilawe in surviving rolls of 1261, and the meaning may be 'hill - island' from the Olde English 'mona' - and - 'hlaw' a hill. The surname is ancient and first recorded in 1398 when Adam Monilaw was the abbot of Nova Fernia Monastery, Ross, Scotland, whilst in 1477 Thomas Monelaw is apparently recorded in the famous register - The Thanes of Cawdor, implying minor aristocracy. Not surprisingly the surname seems to have attracted a wide range of spellings from Maneylaws to Moneylex, although most are very rare, and some forms maybe extinct in 2011.
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