This interesting name, with variant spellings Meade, Mead, Meads and Medd, has two distinct possible origins, the first and most likely being an English topographical name from residence, in or by a meadow. The derivation in this case is from the old English pre 7th Century "moed", (Medieval English "mede"), a meadow and John Atemede, witness - the 1248 "Fine Court Rolls of Essex" is the earliest recorded namebearer. Other early recordings include: Nicholas atte Mede, (Somerset 1307); Richard in the Mede (Surrey, 1332); Willelmus del Mede, (Yorkshire, 1379) and John Mede, (Kent, 1454). The second possibility is that the name originated as a metonymic occupational name for a brewer or seller of "Mead", a fermented beverage made from honey and water, often with spices added, the derivation being from the old English "meodu", mead. A famous namebearer was Richard Mead (1673 - 1754), physician to Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Robert Walpole as well as King George 1st and King George 11. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Mede, which was dated 1190, "The Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire", during the reign of King Richard 1st, "Richard of Bordeaux", 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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