The name Maunsell is derived either from the Norman French word mancel (an inhabitant of Le Mans) or from le mansel (a feudal tenant occupying a manse farm). The Maunsell family claim descent from Philip de Mancel, a nephew of Sir Henry Harley, Cup Bearer to William the Conqueror. Philip accompanied Sir Henry to England in 1066. He settled in Buckinghamshire, acquired a substantial estate in Leicestershire and built a fine mansion house at Oswick in Glamorgan. His descendents prospered greatly under the Plantagenet kings. In 1163, Sir Robert Maunsell served with the Knights Templar while his eldest son William was Napkin Bearer to the King. William’s son, Sir John, was raised in the Royal Court of Edward Longshanks, received numerous lands and manors in southern England and rose to become one of the most prominent statesmen of his age.
 His name is inscribed on the Roll of Battle Abbey in 1066.
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