Recorded as Mew, Mewe, Mewes, Mews and the diminutives Mewett and Mewitt, this is an English surname. It has at least two possible origins, one of which may be French. The first is a nickname from the Old English pre 7th century word "meaw" meaning a "sea-mew" or gull, although as to why a person should be so called, is unclear. Early examples of the surname recording from this source include William Mew in the Court Rolls of the Abbey of Ramsey, Huntingdonshire in 1284, whilst John Meau or Meaw is recorded in the Calendar of Letter Books, in London in 1312. The second possibile origin is that the name derives from the pre 10th century Old French word "mue". This described a special loft or cage for hawks and other birds of prey, used especially when they were mewing or moulting! This suggests that the surname is occupational for a breeder of hawks used for hunting. A example of the recordings from this source is that of William de la Mue in the Pipe Rolls of Devonshire in 1199. The marriage of Thomas Mew and Hone Gatcliffe was recorded at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, on July 22nd 1632, whilst Catherine Mewett, the daughter of Thomas Mewett, was christened at St Mary's Lewisham, in the city of London, on May 12th 1805. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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