This interesting surname of English origin is a patronymic of the occupational name Mather 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 long been widespread, it may also be a late development of Madder, a nickname for a person with a ruddy complexion, deriving from the middle English "mad(d)er", old English "moedere", "a dark red dye obtained from plant roots". The surname dates back to the mid 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Johannes Madyr (1379), "the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire", and Beatrix Matther (1396), "Records of the Borough of Nottingham". James Mattherson was christened on April 14th 1678 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster and John, son of Finley and Anne Matherson was christened on November 9th 1731 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan le Mathere, which was dated 1249, "The Assize Court 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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