Recorded in the spellings of Mawe, Mow, Mowe, Mower and Mawer, this is an Old English topographical and occupational surname. It is an example of the many and varied modern names that derive from old agricultural methods. It derives from the pre 7th century word "maw", which initially described a piece grassland. This in turn had to mowed (mawen), thereby creating the occupation of someone employed (mawer), in mowing the pasture lands to provide hay. Hay was the single most important crop in ancient times and the main or only fodder for all cattle that were over-wintered. In the North of England, the suname is still most commonly found as Mawer, whilst in the south of the country, the medieval and Middle English word "mowen" generated the more familiar "Mower". Examples of the surname recording include John le Mowere in the assize court rolls of the county of Somerset in the year 1225, John le Mawere of Yorkshire in the Pipe Rolls of 1297, Oliver de la Mowe in the tax registers known as the "Feet of Fines" for the city of London in 1317, and the marriage of Daniell Mower and Sarah Powle at St. Dionis Backchurch, also in the city of London in 1659. 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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