- Recorded in a number of spellings including Maltmaker, Malthus, and possibly Mawtass, Mawtous, Mawtus, Mowtass, and others, this would seem to be an English medieval surname. If so it is residential or occupational and describes a maker or merchant of malt and barley, or somebody who lived at a malt house. It is not generally known that upto late Victorian times only a century or so ago, most water was unfit to drink, and the brewing of "small ale," that is to say low alcohol beer was a very importrant part of the necessities of life. Everbody including children drank beer, and only the introduction of tea in the 18th centuries and hence the need to boil the water, created changing habits. Not surprisingly this is one of the earliest of hereditary surnames, and examples taken from authentic surviving charters and rolls of those ancient times thirty generations ago include: Hugh le Maltemakere of Berkshire in the year 1255, Fulk de Malthus of Sussex in 1297, and John le Malter, of Essex, in 1319. Comitessa Malt is recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Suffolk in 1275. She was a landowner in her own right, although whether her surname descends from Maud or Malt(er), is unclear. The spelling as Mawtass or a variant from that, is first recorded in the registers of the city of London in 1744 with that of William Mawtass at the church of St Catherines by the Tower. This was at at a time when spelling was still at best rudimentary, and local dialects very thick, often leading to 'sounds like' spellings and recordings.
Surnames reference. 2013.