Muss History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The first people to use the distinguished Muss family name in England were found in the settlement of Meaux (Meux) in the East Riding of Yorkshire and accordingly, most sources agree that the name is a Yorkshire name.

Looking back further, Meaux is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in France and it is here that it is thought that the family originated. Roger Muse was listed in the "Norman Exchequer Rolls of 1198-1203 and Godfridus de la Mosca held a fief from Philip Augustus of the honour of Malherbe. " [1]

Alternatively the name could have been derived from the Old English word Meaw which meant "a gull" or a "sea-mew." To complicate matters more, Meaw was also an Old English personal name and mue, derived from an Old French word was a cage for hawks that was used while they were mewing or moulting. [2] [3]

We believe that the name is more likely to have been a local name originating in Normandy, as opposed to an occupational name.

Early Origins of the Muss family

The surname Muss was first found in Yorkshire at Meux or Maeux, (pronouced 'mews') a township, in the parish of Waghen, union of Beverley, Middle division of the wapentake of Holderness in the East Riding. [4]

And it is here that the first record of the name, Algarus filius Meawes was listed in 1016 as an Old English byname. Over one hundred years later, John de Mehus was listed in the Feet of Fines in 1196. A few years later, Hugo de Mues was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1201. Thomas de Meuse was listed in the Feet of Fines in 1282. [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Isabel Mus and John de Muse in Essex. John le Mouse or Mows was found in Wiltshire in the Palgraves's Parliamentary Writs (1307-1325.) [1]

Again in Yorkshire, "in 1309, Thomas Mus de Arkilgarth,chaplain, was, with several others, prosecuted by Eve de Kaggardgill of Arkilgarth in Richmondshiro, for the murder of her husband. William Peverel of Dover's Charter to Shrewsbury Abbey is witnessed by William de Musca and another William de Musca (or the same?) held half a knight's fee of William de Ros in Northamptonshire." [1]

"One of the persecuted [Knights] Templars in 1309 was Brother Philip de Mewes, who, 'being advised and earnestly exhorted to abandon his religious profession, replied that he would rather die than do so.' " [1]

Later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had two listings of the family (both in the East Riding): William de Mewse; and John de Mewhes. Bother held land there at that time. [6]

Early History of the Muss family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Muss research. Another 177 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1641, 1829, 1831, 1619, 1706, 1672, 1619, 1637, 1641, 1645, 1642, 1657, 1640, 1644, 1641 and 1657 are included under the topic Early Muss History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Muss Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Mew, Mews, Mewes, Meux, Mewis, Muse, Mewsse, Mowse, Meaux and many more.

Early Notables of the Muss family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Peter Mews (1619-1706), an English Royalist theologian and Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1672, from Caundle Purse, Dorset. Born at Purse Candle, near Sherborne, Dorset, on 25 March 1619, he was sent to Merchant Taylors' School at the charge of his uncle, Dr. Winniffe, then dean of St. Paul's. He was elected scholar of St. John's College, Oxford, 11 June 1637, and...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Muss Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Muss migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Muss name or one of its variants:

Muss Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Muss, aged 40, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1847 [7]


  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. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ 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)


Houseofnames.com on Facebook