This interesting surname is a patronymic form of the Hebrew male given name "Mattathiah", meaning "gift of the lord", which was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in the Latin form "Matthaeus" and the French "Mathieu". The patronymic form, which first appears in the late 14th Century, is also found in the modern idiom as "Ma(t)thew(e)s and Mathewson", while one John Mathows was recorded in 1395, in the Records of Whitby Abbey (Yorkshire). Patronymic surnames arose because European society has been patriarchal throughout history, and as a result the given name of the male head of the household has been handed on as a distinguishing name to successive generations. One George Mathowsone was mentioned in 1539 in the Fees Records of Durham Priory. William Mathieson was christened on March 26th 1615 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and Roberte Mathewson married Alice Armes on August 14th 1637 at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London. Sarah Matthewson was christened on March 11th 1781 at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, London. 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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