This interesting and unusual name, recorded in Church Registers of southern England from the mid 16th Century, under the variant spellings Madam, Meddom, Medem, Mettam etc., has two distinct possible origins. Firstly, it may be a dialectal variant of Metham, a place in the East Riding of Yorkshire, so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "maeth", mowing, plus "hamm", a meadow, hence, "meadow where mowing was done". Thomas de Metham noted in the 1276, Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire, is the first recorded namebearer from this source.The second possibility is that the name is an Anglicized form of the Scottish Gaelic patronymic "Mac Adaim" i.e. "son of Adam", a personal name from the Hebrew meaning "red earth". The form M' Addam was noted in Scotland in 1581. On December 31st 1786 William Maddams, an infant, was christened in St. Andrew's Church, Holborn, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Madam, which was dated October 3rd 1558, marriage to John Welde, in the Churhc of "St. Peter the Great, Chichester, Sussex", during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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