Recorded in several forms including Maud, Maude, Mawd, and the patronymics Maudson and Mawson, this is an English medieval surname. It is a metronymic form of the female given name "Maw", itself having four possible origins. Firstly, Maw may have originated as a distinguishing nickname for someone related to an important local personality, from the Olde English pre 7th century "mage", meaning a female relative. Secondly, it may have originated as a nickname for one thought to bear a fancied resemblance to a sea-mew, from the Olde English "moew", a mew. Thirdly, the name may have been topographical for one residing by a meadow, as in Sibilla de la Mawe of Suffolk in 1273, and finally it may be a nickname form of the Norman female personal name Matilda, itself a compound of the Germanic elements "maht", meaning might or strength, plus "hild", a battle. One Galfridus Mawe was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1199, Geoffrey Maud in the Hundred Rolls of Hampshire in 1273, whilst William Mawson was recorded in the Calverley Charters, Yorkshire, dated 1382. 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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