This interesting surname of English origin is an occupational name for a mower or reaper of grass or hay, deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "moethere". Hay was formerly of great importance, not only as feed for animals in winter but also for bedding. In South Lancashire where the surname has been widespread for a long time, it is probably a late development of Madder, which is either a metonymic occupational name for a dyer or seller of dye, deriving the Middle English "mad(d)er", Olde English pre 7th Century "moedere" meaning "madder", a dark red dye obtained from plant roots, or a nickname for a person with a ruddy complexion using the same element. The suffix "s" indicates the patronymic hence "the son of Mather". The surname dates back to the mid 13th Century, (see below). London church records include one Joan Mathers who married Caleb Hudson, on September 9th 1627, at St. Mary Abchurch, London, and Thomas Mather aged 30, a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the Washington bound for New York on June 2nd 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan le Mathere, which was dated 1249, "The Assize Rolls of Wiltshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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