Show ContentsMains History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Mains family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in Maien, or Mayene, from Mayenne in Maine, Normandy and was a powerful baronial house, with Walter de Maynne listed in 976. [1]

Early Origins of the Mains family

The surname Mains was first found in Devon at King's Nympton, a parish, in the union of South Molton, hundred of Witheridge. The manor, which was parcel of the ancient demesne of the crown, was granted by King John to Joel de Mayne, by whose rebellion it was again vested in the crown: it was given by Henry III. to Roger le Zouch. [2]

"Judael of Mayenne had a vast barony in Devon in 1086, and his family long continued there. In 1165 Walter Fitz Juel de Mayenne (de Meduana) held a barony of twenty-one knight's fees in Kent." [3]

Judael appears in the Domesday Book as Judhel de Totenais, so named for the barony of Totness. He is probably the grandfather of Juhel de Meduana who witnesses one of the Empress Maud's charters to Geoffrey de Mandeville. Nicholas de Meduana, of Dorset and Somerset are listed in the Great Roll of the Pipe (Pipe Rolls) 1 Richard I. [1]

Early History of the Mains family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mains research. Another 102 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1140, 1544, 1577, 1612, 1661, 1633, 1711, 1702, 1711, 1705, 1708, 1654, 1683, 1668, 1631, 1654 and are included under the topic Early Mains History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mains Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Main, Maine, Mayne and others.

Early Notables of the Mains family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Saint Cuthbert Mayne (1544-1577), an English Roman Catholic priest and martyr of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation; Simon Mayne (1612-1661), English Member of Parliament from Dinton Hall in Buckinghamshire, one of the regicides of King Charles I; and Lieutenant-General Edmund Maine (1633-1711), an English soldier and politician, Governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed (1702-1711) and Member of Parliament for Morpeth (1705-1708.) Alexander DelaMaine (fl. 1654-1683), the Muggletonian...
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mains Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mains Ranking

In the United States, the name Mains is the 11,829th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Mains family to Ireland

Some of the Mains family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Mains migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Mains or a variant listed above were:

Mains Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Mains, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808 [5]
  • Peter Mains, aged 25, who arrived in America in 1822 [5]

Canada Mains migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Mains Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Andrew Mains, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773
Mains Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Mains, aged 28, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Margaret Mains, aged 25, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • William Mains, aged ?, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Daniel Mains, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833

Australia Mains migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Mains Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Mains, aged 42, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Marshall Bennett" [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Mains (post 1700) +

  • Gilbert Lee "Gil" Mains (1929-2009), American AFL football defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions (1953 to 1961)
  • James Royal Mains (1922-1969), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Willard Eben Mains (1868-1923), American National League Baseball pitcher
  • Gil Mains (1930-2009), American football player
  • William C. Mains (1869-1909), American Republican politician, crusader against saloons in Mt. Vernon, New York; Member of New York State Assembly from Westchester County 1st District, 1901 [7]
  • W. Lee Mains, American politician, Mayor of Billings, Montana, 1919-21 [7]
  • Robert Mains Jr., American politician, Socialist Labor Candidate for New York State Assembly from Kings County 14th District, 1902, 1903, 1904 [7]
  • Doug Mains, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Illinois 14th District, 1996 [7]
  • Geoffrey Mains (1934-2021), English cricketer for Gloucestershire (1951-1954)
  • Johnny Mains (b. 1976), Scottish editor and writer of horror fiction
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Mains Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Projeci
Motto Translation: I have thrown away.

  1. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. South Australian Register Friday 29 April 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Marshall Bennett 1853. Retrieved
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 7) . Retrieved from on Facebook