Mastin is old French for a large dog or Mastif. Indeed it is still current practice for breeders of Bull Mastifs to call early forms of the breed Mastins.
This suggests that the name was originally French, and I know that there are a significant number of Mastins in France, more than any other country in Europe apart from England. Kent has the largest numbers in England and it should be noted that it is the English county nearest to France.
According to John Mastin:
"It all started on 19th May 1999, when a colleague of mine gave me a newspaper cutting, which he had taken from the Derby Evening Telegraph. The news item included a photograph of a woman holding a small book, and the item read that the book contained hand-written remedies for various medical complaints dating back to the 1790's. At the back of the book there was a record of births, marriages and deaths of members of the Mastin family.
"To cut a long story short, I eventually managed to acquire the book for the sum of £60. It did indeed contain family records of my direct line at Fenton, Lincolnshire. It was absolutely fascinating and a tremendous coincidence. How it ended up in Derby I do not know, and it still remains a mystery.
"This stroke of luck renewed my interest in the research my father had done into our family history in 1940, to an extent that my sister Susan and I have continued the research to try and fill in the various gaps left by my father. In consequence, I have written these notes on the various Mastins who form the direct line of my ancestors simply as it would be a shame to lose all the information that we have pulled together.
"Where I have stated something as fact, there is other detailed back-up, and where I have assumed or guessed at something, I have said so."
Where more personal notes are included, they are referenced "J.M." (for John Mastin of Matlock), or "J.B." (for John Beresford), or "L.M." (for Lawrence (Luke) Mastin).
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