This most interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place, believed to have been situated in the Devonshire area, because of the large number of recordings found in Church Registers there from the 1500's onwards. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared from the 12th Century on, due to such natural causes as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, and to the widespread practice of enforced "clearing" and enclosure of rural lands for sheep pastures from the 15th Century onwards. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Matta", or the Olde English "maeth", a meadow, plus "cot", a cottage, or woodman's hut; hence "Matta's cot", or "the cot in the meadow". Early recordings of the name include the marriage of John Madcote and Elizabeth Mathews on May 13th 1613 at the Church of St. Katherine by the Tower, in London; the marriage of Daretie Mattecot and William Goddafrey on January 19th 1619 at Dotton in Devonshire; the marriage of Bartholomew Mattecote and Grace Ansone on February 12th 1617 at Fremington, Devonshire; and the christening of Johnson Madcott at Goodramgate in Yorkshire, on December 16th 1705. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ellis Mattcote, which was dated November 25th 1547, marriage to Alse Boand, at Atherington, in Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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