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2,397 study surnames with us
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About the study

My father, who had a passing interest in genealogy, was only able to tell me about 10 MATON'€™s (including myself) covering five generations. In 1984 I started my study with the aim of being able to give our son more information about our MATON origins. An early opportunity allowed me to record GRO references in my lunch hour so it soon developed into full-blown One Name Study focused on MATON with some work on variants and similar spellings.

Variant names

There are over 20 possible variants of MATON which have appeared in census and earlier records: with one or two T€™s and/or changes to one or both vowels and/or an E or S on the end. Some of these records have been identified as misspelt MATON€™s; or 16th century spelling on Wills (MATYN and MATYNE) which have not occurred since.

The majority of these alternatives have very small populations (0 to 70 in 2002) and no identifiable link with MATON and its origins.

The name MATTON is a true variant, with one common origin with MATON. The name MATTIN is also a variant as a derivative of MATTON.

It is possible that MATIN, MATEN and MATTEN are also variants, but there are no indications of link to the origins of MATON.

Name origin

There are two origins to the name MATON; Wiltshire pre 1500, and France from the Huguenot immigration in the early 17 century.

1. Wiltshire pre 1500

Within Wiltshire there are two distinct areas where MATON€™s have been recorded since the early 16th century and spreading from there to other parts of the country:

1.1 Upper Avon Valley

These are the parishes in the Avon Valley between Durrington and Upavon, where many generations of MATON families have been recorded as living in the valley and some of the surrounding parishes.

The earliest record is the Wiltshire Poll Tax List for 1332 which shows HENRY MATYN of Durrington and WILLIAM MATYN of Ablington. This indicates that this area may be the original source for the name.

1.2 Salisbury

This includes Salisbury itself and a semicircle of parishes to the south of Salisbury. Again many generations have been recorded living in these parishes and moving between them.

The earliest reference in the Salisbury area is the AS Will of NICHOLAS MATON of Stockton, a farmer, 1559.

Despite the relatively close proximity of these two areas, no connection has yet been made between them. Nor have any MATONs been recorded as living in the area of the parishes which occupy the 10 miles between Durrington and Salisbury.

The actual origin of the Wiltshire MATONs can as yet only be guessed. They may be from an early immigration from France, from Anglo-Saxon times or some other source.

AD Mills 'Dictionary of English Place-names' 1991 quotes the use of Old English person name of MATTA being used in conjunction with other words to make some place names like Matfen in Northumberland, Matfield in Kent, and Mattingley in Hampshire.

He also quotes the quite common use of the Old English "tun" meaning farm or enclosure, or in some cases village manor or estate eg Middleton in Norfolk.

There is no place called Maton or Matton in England, but in Old English the name would be farm of a man called Matta.

2. French Huguenot immigration in the early 17 century

The records of the Walloon Churches in Threadneedle St, London, and in Canterbury show that French Huguenot MATON/MATTON families had arrived in England in the early 1600s. The earliest record found in London being for ROBERT and MARGURITE MATON as witnesses to a marriage in 1601. (An earlier unchecked IGI reference for Canterbury is dated 1592).

The registers record many baptisms for these families in the 17th and 18th centuries so a large number of London MATONs and all MATTONs are likely to originate from the Huguenot immigrants.

The Suffolk MATTINs (and possibly all MATTINs) are likely to originate from this source. A fellow researcher, Andrew Mattin, has traced his family back to 1751 in Suffolk but with the earliest three generations having the variant MATTON.

Historical occurrences of the name


The earliest record of a MATON and possible origin in Norman French: SERLO was a man of EUDO DAPIER who was a Companion-in-Arms to William the Conquer and head of his household. DAPIER had governorship of Colchester and was responsible for the building of Colchester Castle and the founding of the Abbey of St John the Baptist, he died in 1120. SERLO had a grant of land from EUDO DAPIER. SELO came from the village of Mathieu (also known as Mattonium) in Normandy.


Born probably in North Tidworth, Wilts, entered Wadham College Oxford as a commoner aged 16, on receiving an MA he took Holy Orders. A staunch Puritan, he published a book during the rebellion (1642), and found particular favour during the interregnum (1649-60), his book being republished in 1652 and 1655. He was known as '€˜The Divine'€™.


Born in Salisbury, Wilts, was a graduate of Queens College, Oxford, his most notable medical achievement was being the first person to describe Rubella. He had a practice in Weymouth, where he was called to Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III, who was staying 'for the season'. He then became her physician and that of other members of the Royal Family. He also wrote on Philosophy, British Antiquities and Natural History. He was elected a Fellow of the Linnaean Society and a number of species were named in his honour including 'Trichoglossus.matoni' or '€˜Maton'€™s Parakeet'€™, which was illustrated by EDWARD LEAR in 1832. His father GEORGE was Chamberlain of Salisbury who died in 1816, in debt to £2,000 (approx '£120,000 at today'€™s value). He repaid it all by 1827 and so made a Freeman of the City of Salisbury.

JOHN MATON 1777-1827

Lord of the Manor of Maddington, Wilts, who together with his brother JAMES (1779-1956) performed the service of Larderer at the coronation of GEORGE IV in 1821. It is believed that the MATON coat of arms quoted in many books and shown above was created for them -  the barrels relating to their service, and the alternative name for a barrel is 'tun' being a pun on 'ton' of MATON; the three barrels may be a reference to them plus their surviving brother LEONARD MATON (1776-1830). However the arms were never officially registered with the Heralds. JOHN is a 3rd cousin 3 times removed of ROBERT above.


A Solicitor, Lord of the Manor of Maddington, Wilts, Under Sheriff of the City of London and son of LEONARD MATON quoted above. He was educated at Rugby School and wrote the original laws of the Rugby Football Union in 1871, in collaboration with E.C.HOLMES and A.E.RUTTER.

Name frequency

On the 1851 census for England & Wales there are 639 MATON entries. By the 1901 census there were 852 Maton entries and on the 2002 Office of National Statistics (ONS) database there are 920. This modest increase represents a decline in the proportion of MATONs in the population by over 50% in 150 years.

The ONS in 2002 shows it to be ranked equal 7025 in most popular surname.

In the same time period (1851-2002) the change in count of variants and possible variants have varied:

MATTON reduced from 308 to 126
MATTIN increased from 99 to 447
MATIN increased from 79 to 640
MATTEN increased from 119 to 280
MATEN reduced from 44 to less than 5

(Note: ONS 2002 surnames with less than 5 entries are not accessible)

Distribution of the name

The data shows clear concentration of the name in Wiltshire/Hampshire and in London supporting the origin of the name.

MATON GRO Births from 1837 to 1900 are distributed: 183 Wiltshire; 181 Hampshire; 265 London; and 140 spread over 20 other counties.

The majority of the Hampshire and some of the London MATON'€™s have been traced to families from Wiltshire

The 1988 IGI lists records for 917 MATONs and various '€˜variants'€™ (no reduction has been made for likely duplicates) in the English counties. The distribution is similar: 185 Wiltshire; 142 Hampshire; 295 London; 207 Suffolk; and 395 spread over 32 other counties (largest is Kent with 60, then Lancashire with 30 and all others 20 or under).

'MATON'€™ dominates in Wiltshire and Hampshire with over 84% and 92% respectively

In London 'MATON' has the largest occurrence at 44%, with 'MATTON' at 28%.

In Suffolk 'MATTIN' is predominant at 52%, with 'MATTEN' at 29% and 'MATTON' at 10%.


Over 1400 MATON€™s have been documented and placed into 45 pedigrees which range in dates from 1450 to the present day.

The study has focused on records up to 1901 with the exception of GRO deaths and correspondence with other researchers.

All GRO records have been collected plus census return entries (1841-1901). Extensive searches of parish records have been undertaken, plus the collection of all early wills and a variety of other records.