Recorded in several forms including Matterdace, Matterface, Matterbase, Matteris and Matresse, this is an English surname but almost certainly one of French origins. Although we cannot be absolutely certain we believe that the name originates from the French noun and surname Maistre, in English usually Master, and that what we have in todays spelling is a transposition which took place between the 14th and 17th centuries when the English language changed from Medieval or Middle English, through Shakespearean, to the Standard English of today, which has more or less existed since about 1640. The original term of Maistre or Master was used either to denote a professional person, one who had had an university eduction at a time when fewer than five in a hundred people could even write their own name, or it may have referred to the head of a large household, particularly a farm. In Scotland the eldest sons of nobles were also called 'Master', and generally in the British Isles it is sa term still occasionally found in correspondence and usually regarding young sons. As to how or why the spelling 'developed' from Maistre either to Masters or through a secondary route to Matresse and hence to Matteris and Matterface etc, is a mystery of dialect and spelling. The earliest recording is probably that of Hubert Maystres in Staffordshire in 1327, whilst other developments include Jane Matares at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, in 1569, to Mary Matterdace at St Andrews by the Wardrobe in the city of London in 1648 and finally to Mary Matterface at St Pauls Deptford, Kent, in 1734.
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