This interesting surname recorded as Mead, Meade, Medd, and the patronymic Meads, has two distinct origins. The first and most likely, being an English topographical name from residence, in or by a meadow. The derivation is from the old English pre 7th Century word "moed", the later medieval "mede", meaning a meadow. John Atemede, who was a court witness in the county of Essex in 1248, being one of the earliest recorded namebearers. Other early recordings from the topographical source include: Nicholas atte Mede, of Somerset in1307, Richard in the Mede of Surrey in1332; Willelmus del Mede of Yorkshire in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379, and John Mede of Kent in the year1454.The second possibility is that the name originated as a metonymic occupational name for a brewer or seller of "Mead". This fermented beverage made from honey and water, often with spices added, was the popular drink of the Middle Ages. It is almost inconceivable that it was not the source of some modern nameholders, although this is not proven. 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, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Warwickshire, during the reign of King Richard 1st of England, known as "The lionheart", 1189 - 1199.
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