This very unusual surname is found in a variety of spelling forms including Masheter, Mashiter, Messiter, Masseter and Mashed(d)er. There are no wholly satisfactory explanations for the name, except that it is first recorded in the late 15th Century (see below), and is clearly job-descriptive. The logical explanation is that it derives from the Olde English "masc", which translates as "mash", i.e., malt mixed with hot water to from wort, plus "roder", which describes a paddle shaped instrument used for stirring the fermenting mass.In other words the name describes an early brewer, if the explanation is correct. Another possible explanation is again job-descriptive from the Roman (Latin) "missaticum", through "messagier", an early postman or courier. Recordings of the name through the ages include: Robert Masherudder in the Guild Rolls of York (1517); Peter Mashrether, of Essex (1584); and Agnes Masheter in the Wills Register of Lancashire in 1637. On October 16th 1696, James, son of Daniel and Margaret Messiter, was christened at St. Botolph's Church, London. The Coat of Arms is a red field, on an ermine cross, a black anchor, between four blue leopards' faces. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Mascrother, which was dated 1498, in the "Friary Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry V11, known as "Henry Tudor", 1485 - 1509. 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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