Recorded as Minchell, Minshaw, Manshaw, Minshall, Minshull and possibly others, this is an English surnam. It is locational from a pair of villages called Church Minshull and Vernon Minshull, in the county of Cheshire. They are on opposite sides of the river Weaver and were recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Maneshale" and "Manessele", respectively. The placename itself is composed of the Olde English personal name "Mann" or "Monn" and the Olde English "scylf", a shelf or ledge, hence "Mann's ledge of land". Minshall is a southern English variant of the surname which appears to have arisen in the 17th Century, while the surname itself is first recorded in the mid 14th Century (see below). An interesting namebearer was one Geffray Minshull (1594 - 1668), an author, who when imprisoned for debt, occupied himself by writing a series of prison "characters", which were published in 1618. Other recordings include Thomas Minchell at the church of All Hallows the Great, in the city of London, on July 16th 1675, and John Minshaw, at St Ann's Soho, Westminster, on May 4th 1707. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Mynshall. This was dated 1359, in the History of East Cheshire, during the reign of King Edward 111rd, known as "The Father of the English Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.