M is for …

This set of names is almost a microcosm of Andrew’s Kindred, with three direct lines, including, perhaps, the most ancient, and all but one born in my native Staffordshire or an adjacent county.

Based on: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: John Edward Maddox, born about 1890, Brownhills, Staffordshire.

From Old Welsh Madōg, Welsh, Madawc, Madog, goodly.

st james ogley hay 1 (640x413)
St James, Ogley Hay, south side, 2016.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: Ada Mansell, born about 1882, Brownhills, Staffordshire.

A personal name or Old French Mancel resident of Maine or its capital Le Mans, France.  In France a Mancel was a feudal tenant, occupier of a manse, with land enough to support a family.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: John Marklew, born about 1848, Brownhills, Staffordshire.

Not covered by Reaney.  The most credible explanation I can find is the combination of Saxon maerc, boundary marker, and hlaew, hill.  So it probably relates to someone who lived on a hill by a marker post or some other feature marking a boundary.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: William Marriott, born about 1818, Hammerwich, Staffordshire.

With variants a very common diminutive of Mary.  [There were so many named Mary that a range of diminutives, or pet names, like Molly and Polly, was essential to avoid confusion.]


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  William Marson, born about 1844, Hickling, Nottinghamshire.

From Marston, a common place name, often pronounced Marson.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  William Martin, father of Ann Martin (5th great grandmother), born 1749, Brewood, Staffordshire.

A popular Christian name and early surname.  [Presumably, Martin, son of Martin.  Saint Martin was Bishop of Tours, so maybe there is another French connection?]


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: John Medlicott (died 1592), father of Edward Medlicott (10th great grandfather), born 1570, probably at Medlicott, near Ratlinghope, Shropshire.

Lewelin de Modlincot 1255, Rotuli Hundredorum, Salop.  From Medlicott, Shropshire.

I am surprised to find that I have not blogged about Medlicott before.  This is, apparently the most ancient traceable line, going back to medieval Ireland and, probably, the Norman Conquest.  The family was granted land between 1190 and 1198 at Medlicott.  The first to bear the Medlicott name was Llewellyn de Medlicott (around 1327), son of Sir Roger Meibron.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: William Millington, born about 1865, Alrewas, Staffordshire.

From Millington, Cheshire or Yorkshire, or ‘dweller at the farm by the mill’.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: William Morris, born about 1819, Solihull, Warwickshire.

From Latin Mauritius ‘Moorish, dark, swarthy’, from Maurus ‘the Moor’.  Maurice is the learned form, Morice the more popular common one.  [Maurice was always seen as a shade posh.]


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  Alfred Mountford, born about 1834, Burford, Shropshire.

Apparently from the French Montfort from Montford-sur-Risle in Normandy, from the Old French mont, hill, and fort, strong and impregnable.  The first reference in England is in the Domesday Book, which says that Hugh de Montfort controlled various lands in Kent.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  John Mousdale (4th great grandfather), born about 1776, Chester, Cheshire.

Not covered by Reaney.  Other sources indicate place name, such as Mosedale, Cumbria (in the north east Lake District), or several hamlets of similar name in northern England.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: James Mycock, born about 1867, Leek, Staffordshire.

Diminutive, or pet, form of May, from Mayhew (Matthew)

Leek Railway Station on the eve of closure in 1965, via Geograph, copyright Flying Stag.
Leek Railway Station on the eve of closure in 1965, via Geograph, copyright Flying Stag.

4 thoughts on “M is for …

  1. Hi Andrew, I think my Mother wanted a change it seem’s that John’s name came up quite often in the Dennis Family, so she named me Martin, although my second name is John.
    there will always be a debate were the Family came from, i know my Grandad, John Dennis said we came from the Viking or Norsk
    and yet the Name Dennis is more French perhaps not the same spelling, so there we go.


    1. Thanks, Martin

      I think there is enough evidence for Viking or Norse ancestry. To some extent I covered this in https://andrewskindred.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/d-is-for/ and

      We know that Sam Dennis had the red hair, blue eyes, fair skin genes, or “light colouration”, and they were active. This means that his parents, John and Emma, must both have had those genes, and consequently, their parents. From there it must be the case that we are descended from the first people to have light colouration.

      It may very well be that some ancestors came via Normandy (who were Viking stock) and the ancient Celts – there is some Irish on your grandmother’s side, but, I suggest, given what I have discovered about Leicestershire, a substantial component must have Danish origins.

      Our Leicestershire forebears used Dennies (this pronunciation is still used in the Liverpool and Wirral areas) and I suggest this is derived from Danish, as the OED suggests.

      Now, where did I leave that longship?!

      Best wishes,


  2. Well having gone on holiday a few times to Norway, and love the Country and the People,it would be nice to think we are part of them, I know my Uncle Jack Dennis had no doubt about it, so that’s sorted out.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s