- Recorded in several forms including Methven, Methuen, Meffan, and Meffen, this is an early Scottish surname. It is locational from an estate known as "The lands of Methven" in the county of Perthshire. The meaning of the surname is more obscure, but it probably owes something to the Olde English pre 7th century word "maep" pronounced meth, and meaning to mow, plus a suffix such as hamm, indicating a meadow or at least flat land suitable for taking off the hay. What is certain is that the surname is one of the very first to be recorded in Scotland, which effectively makes it one of the first to be recorded anywhere as few hereditary surnames developed before the year 1200. In this case probably the first example is that of David de Methven, who was a charter witness of the bishop of St Andrews in about the year 1240, the precise date is not known, except that it was between 1233 and 1255. Later in 1296 and showing a transitional change of spelling Roger de Methfenn of Perthshire rendered homage to the Interregnum Parliament of Scotland which "reigned" between 1296 and 1306, until overthrown by King Robert, The Bruce. In 1340 it is said that Thomas de Methfen held the office of chamberlain of Aberdeen, whilst later in 1451 John de Meffen was a commissioner of peace between England and Scotland. Paul Methuen was the founder of the publishing house Methuen & Co of London, and he is sometimes confused with another publisher Sir Algernon Methuen Marshall (!856-1924), the first to publish Kipling's work.
Surnames reference. 2013.
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