Recorded in many forms including Matheson, Mathieson, Mathisson, Mattison, and Mattisson, this is regarded as being a Scottish patronymic surname. It is however derived from the 'Crusader' name Matthew, which was first introduced into England in the 11th century. As such it is a name of biblical origins brought back to Western Europe by returning knights known as the Crusaders, from the about the 12th century. The name means 'A gift of God', which no doubt helped to contribute to its continuing popularity over at least two millennia. St. Matthew, the Evangelist, was the writer of the first gospel, and had as his symbol an angel typifying Christ's humanity. The name in the spelling of Mattheus is recorded in the famous Domesday Book of England in the year 1086. The short form of Matt or Mathe is first noted in the Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire in the year 1195, with Hugh Mathi being listed in the Curia Rolls of Hertfordshire in1221. The patronymic form is first recorded in Scotland with that of John Mattyson appearing in the register of the Acts of Parliament for Scotland in 1392, whilst William Mattison was a witness in Aberdeen in 1446. Other recordings of the surname taken from surviving church registers include: the marriage of Cuthbert Mathieson and Bessie Batesoune on December 10th 1595, at Edinburgh, and the christening of William Mathison, on March 26th 1615, at St. Margaret's Westminster. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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