This most interesting and unusual surname has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be a topographical name for "a dweller at the mew", a range of stables, with coach houses around an open space, or a place where hawks or falcons were confined during their moulting period in a shelter, from the Old French word "mue", from "muer", to moult. It may also indeed be an occupational name for a keeper of falcons, hawks, from the same Old French origin. Secondly, the surname is likely to be a variant of "Meaux", an English locational name from Meaux in Yorkshire, which was recorded as "Melse" in the Domesday Book of 1086. This placename probably derives from the Old Scandinavian "mel-saer", which means "a lake with sandy shores", and this is identical with Melsjon in Sweden. There is also a place called Meaux in France. Hugo de Mues is recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Leicestershire in 1201, while the Feet of Fines of Essex mentions Thomas de Meuse in 1282. Andrew Mewes is listed in the Feet of Fines of Huntingdonshire in 1371. On October 8th 1599, Thomas Mewis married Marie Edwards at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, London. A Coat of Arms depicting six gold griffins segreant, three in chief, two in the middle and one in base, was granted to a Mewis family. The surname is also found spelt as Meux, Mewes, Mewies, Mews, and Mewse. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Mehus, which was dated 1196, in the "Feet of Fines of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1154 - 1189. 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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