Recorded in several spellings including Meat, Meats, Meates, Meth, Methe, and Metts, this is an English surname. It may be occupational and describe a butcher or a keeper of a cooked meat business, perhaps what would now be called a delicatessen. Curiously the name as Meatyarde which presumably referred to an early abbatoir keeper, is recorded in the county of Wiltshire in 1618, when John Meatyarde married Ann King at the village of Broad Chalk, but it is possible that this spelling is now extinct.Another possible origin is from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'methe' meaning courteous or friendly, and hence a nickname for such a person, or perhaps given the robust humour of the Chaucerian period, the complete reverse! In an ancient roll of trades of the 14th century it is recorded that 'Thou was methe and meke', so perhaps it really did mean courteous. The first recorded spelling in any form is believed to be that of Henry Methe in the Hundred Roll of landowners for the county of Suffolk in the year 1273, whilst somewhat later Elizabeth Mett is recorded in the register of St Nicholas Acorns in the city of London, on April 20th 1549, and John Meates in the register of the exotically named church of St Andrew Undershaft, also in the city of London, on April 7th 1583.
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