Recorded in many forms including Macen, Machun, Mechen, Meachan, Meachen, Meacham, Meachem, Meachim and Meachin, this is an English surname. It is apparently a development of the Norman-French word and later surname "Machun" meaning a mason, introduced into England at the time of the Conquest of 1066. As such it was given as an occupational name to a stone mason. Occupational surnames were not originally hereditary. They only became so when a son, or perhaps a grandson, followed the father into the same line of skill or business. The earliest surname recording is that of John Macun, in the registers known as the "Social and Economic documents of the city of London" in the year 1230. Other early examples include those of Ace le Mazun in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Herefordshire in the year 1293, whilst Richard Machen appears in the rolls of the Assize Court of Stafford in 1284. Several centuries later John Meachen married Ann Bickman on 16th January 1667 at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, whilst at St. Pauls Finsbury, Sarah Mechen married Royner Dobbs on 26th January 1845. 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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