Recorded in the spellings of Mead, Meade, Medd, Meads, Meder, Meader, and Meaders, this is an English surname. It has two possible and distinct origins. The first and most likely, being an English topographical name from residence by a 'mede or mead' The derivation being from the pre 7th Century word "moed", the later medieval "mede", and describing a water meadow or specifically land which was flooded by water in winter, but used for grazing in summer. Early examples of the recording include John Atemede, who was a court witness in the county of Essex in 1248, being one of the earliest recorded namebearers. Other include: Nicholas atte Mede, of Somerset in1307, Richard in the Mede of Surrey in1332; Willelmus del Mede of Yorkshire in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379, and John Mede of Kent in the year1454. The second possibility is that the name originated as a metonymic occupational name for a brewer or seller of "Mead". This fermented beverage made from honey and water, often with spices added, was the popular drink of the Middle Ages. An early example of the name recordings is that of Alexander le Meder of Oxford, in the year 1180, and Thomas Medur of Surrey in the Subsidy Rolls of the year 1332. The first recorded hereditary recording of the family name is believed to be that of Richard Mede, which was dated 1190. This was in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Warwickshire, during the reign of King Richard 1st of England, known as "The lionheart", 1189 - 1199.
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