Recorded in many spelling forms including Maud, Maude, Mault, Malt, Mold, Mould, and Moult, this interesting and unusual surname has two possible derivations. The first and most likely being from the medieval English female personal name 'Mahalt, or 'Maud', variants of the Norman female given name 'Mathilda' introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. The name is composed of the Germanic elements 'maht', meaning might or strength, and 'wild', which curiously in this context, translates as 'battle'. Clearly a name for an early feminist. As it happens it had a good roll model in the wife of William, The Conqueror. She was named 'Matilda', but was known by the short form of 'Mold'. William's grand-daughter also bore the name 'Matilda', and it was she who disputed the throne of England with her cousin, Stephen, during the mid 12th Century. A second possible derivation is from a nickname for a friar or a bald man, from the Middle English 'mould', - meaning the top of the head. Early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic rolls, charters, and registers of the medieval period, include: Geoffrey Maude of Huntingdon in 1279, and John Malt of Cambridge in the same year, whilst Agnes Molt, a widow, is recorded in Stafforshire in the Subsidy Rolls of 1327. John Mold was a christening witnes at the church of St Michael Bassishaw, London on July 24th 1586, and Lawrence Moult of Congleton, Cheshire had his will proved in 1628. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Mald, which was dated 1190, in the Essex Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as 'The Lionheart', 1189-1199. 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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