This famous surname is recorded in over two hundred and fifty different spellings ranging from Mathieu, Mattis, Mattis, Matisse, Matteus, and others of France to Mathew, Matthes, Mathie and Mathias of England and Macieiczyk of Poland. From medieval times it has been recorded in every part of Christendom. Its popularity throughout Europe first as a baptismal name and then later as a surname dates from the 11th century when Crusaders, otherwise known as the Knight Templar, returning from one of their many expeditions to the Holy Land, gave it to their sons in commemoration of the fathers (unsuccessful) attempt to free Palestine from the Muslims. The derivation is from the Hebrew male given name "Mattathiah" meaning "gift of the Lord", and it is recorded in the famous Norman-English Domesday Book of 1086 as Matthaeus and in the French spelling of Mathieu. Neither of these recordings are surnames, but names of priests. Early examples of the surname recordings include Heinrich Matthaus of Uberlingen, Germany, in 1382, John Mathows of Whitby, England, in 1395, the patronymic Hugh Mathewman in the Poll Tax rolls of England in 1379, and a similar Clewi Mathis of Freiburg, Germany, in the year 1475. The first recorded spelling of the surname in any form and anywhere in the world is that of Alan Mathew. This was dated 1260, in the Assize Rolls of Cambridge, England, and during the reign of King Henry 111rd, who reigned from 1216 to 1272. 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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