Recorded in several spellings including Machan, Machans, Machon, Machun, and the unusual McHan, this appears to be a Scottish name but in fact is almost certainly Norman-French. It is first recorded in England after the 1066 Norman Conquest, and soon after in Scotland, whilst it is also recorded in Ireland from the 14th century. The Scots supported Duke William of Normandy, and many Normans were given lands in Scotland from this time. However spelt the surname is occupational and derives from the French word of the pre 10th century "machun", meaning a stone mason. Job-descriptive surnames were not at first hereditary, and in general only became so when a son folllowed his father into the same business. Amongst the very earliest of the recordings are those of Roger Mason in the register of Oseney Abbey, Oxfordshire for the year 1200, Adam Machan, who in 1203 owned lands in the Vale of Clyde, Scotland, and Thomas Machan, who was a juror on an inquest in Lanark in 1263. An interesting recording is that of John MacHans of Wigtown, Scotland, who in 1662 was fined the then enormous sum of 600 (possibly 500,000 in late 20th century inflationary money) for treasonable activities! The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of John Macun, which was dated 1130, in the "Ancient Charters of the city of London". This was during the reign of King Henry 1st, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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