Monsay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Monsay is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Monsay family lived in Monceaux, Normandy. "The 'Sire de Monceals' of the Roman de Ron. He 'descended from the ancient lords of Maers and Monceaux, Counts of Nevers. Landric IV. became Count of Nevers c. 990 by marriage, and had a younger son Landric of Nevers, Baron of Monceaux, grandfather of William de Monceaux, who is mentioned by Wace in 1066. He appears as William de Moncellis in the Eastern Domesday, and as William de Nevers in Norfolk 1086. His descendants occur in Sussex, but chiefly in Yorkshire and Lincoln.' " [1]

"There are several communes of this name in Normandy; but Monceaux, near Bayeux, is probably the one meant. This name is frequently to be found in the earlier muniments of Battle Abbey; for a branch of the family, soon after the Conquest, settled at Bodiham, in its immediate neighbourhood. Part of his estate there was granted by William de Monceaux to the Abbey, at some date previous to 1200. " [2]

Early Origins of the Monsay family

The surname Monsay was first found in Sussex where they held a family seat as lords of the manor of Herstmonceux. They were descended from the ancient Lords of Maers and Monceaux, Counts of Nevers in Normandy. They were granted lands in Sussex and those branches, retaining the name Monceaux became the Lords of Monson, the Viscounts Castlemaine, and the Lords Sondes.

Another branch moved north into Cumberland soon after the Conquest: Hammond Monceaux was Sheriff of Cumberland in 1290, and it is there that the Mounsey branch is thought to have arisen.

About this time, Walter de Muncy, 1st Baron Muncy (d. c. 1309), was summoned to Parliament and was accordingly granted a peerage on 6 February 1299. This gentleman may be the same person referenced at Thornton in the West Riding of Yorkshire in early times. "This place in the reign of Edward I. belonged to Walter de Muncey, who obtained from that monarch the grant of a weekly market, and a fair on the festival of St. Thomas the Martyr and four following days." [3]

Early History of the Monsay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Monsay research. Another 134 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1377, 1291, 1296, 1395 and 1686 are included under the topic Early Monsay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Monsay Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Monsay are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Monsay include Mounsey, Mounsie, Mouncie, Mouncey, Mouncy, Muncey, Muncie, Mounceaus, Monceaux, Monceux, Monse and many more.

Early Notables of the Monsay family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Monsay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Monsay family

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Monsay, or a variant listed above: Margaret Mouncey, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1697; Jean Mouncy who settled in Charles Town South Carolina in 1772; Joseph Monsey, who arrived in Ontario in 1871.



The Monsay 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: Semper paratus
Motto Translation: Always prepared.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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