This long-established surname is a patronymic form of the Middle English male given name, Mathew, of biblical origin, ultimately from the Hebrew "Matityahu", "gift of Jehovah", and Latinized as "Matthaeus" and "Matthias". Introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, the name appears as "Mathiu" and "Matheus" in the Domesday Book of 1086. Its subsequent popularity gave rise to a variety of diminutive and pet forms including: Mace, Macy, Machin, Mat, Maton and Matkin. One Matheus Baret was noted in Documents relating to the Danelaw, Lincolnshire, dated circa 1150, and an Alan Mathew, witness, appears in the 1260 Assize Court Rolls of Cambridgeshire. The earliest patronymic form of the name was recorded in 1395 with the following entry: John Mathows (Whitby, Yorkshire), the final "s" being a reduced form of "son of". In 1539, a George Mathowsone was noted in the Book of Fees for Durham Priory. Modern patronymics are: Matthewes, Mathhews, Matthewson and Mathewson. Recordings of the last mentioned from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Robert Mathewson to Joane Goringe at St. Thomas', London, in 1550; the marriage of Nicholas Mathewson to Elizabeth Casebolt at Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire, on June 21st 1563, and the christening of Johan(a), daughter of Nicolas and Alice Mathewson, at Horseheath, Cambridgeshire, on November 1st 1599. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Matheuson, which was dated 1416, in the "Register of the Freemen of the City of York", during the reign of King Henry V, known as "The Victor of Agincourt", 1413 - 1422. 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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