This is surely one of the most interesting surnames to be found on the English register. However whilst it may be found there, it is almost certainly not English but French and locational. It appears to derive from village called 'Malatray' near the town of Ain, in the French region of Haute Loire. However this is to some extent conjecture, because there does not appear to be any recording of the surname in England before the year 1600, and therefore one would expect it to be Huguenot refugee surname. Usually when this is the case the earliest recordings are to be found in a French Huguenot church, but this is not the case here. We are there faced by the possibility that the name could be a development from the medieval 'Malatalant', as in Richard Malatalant (Richard of the bad manners) recorded in Northumberland in the year 1170, or possibly from Geoffrey Malenfant (Geoffrey the bad child) in Suffolk in 1205. The early church recording examples include the following - Thomas Malitrot, the son of James Malitrot, christened at St Andrews church, Enfield, Middlesex, on January 31st 1640, and Elizabeth Malitrott, christened at St Botolphs without Aldergate, London, on July 20th 1634. Other recordings are those of Elizabeth Malletratt who married John Thurkettle at St Michaels Cornhill, on June 4th 1656, and Sarah Mallatratt, christened at St Giles Cripplegate, London, on July 7th 1686. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rossa Maletratt, which was dated February 7th 1601, who married at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, 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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