This surname of MADSON was a baptismal name 'the son of Maud or Matilda'. The name is also spelt MADISON. Early records of the name mention Agnes MADDESONNE, who was baptised at St. Peter, Cornhill, London in the year 1558, and Henry MADDESON of Melling was listed in the Lancashire Wills at Richmond in 1679. There is an epitaph at The church of St. Nicholas, New-Castle-on-Tyne which reads 'Here rest in Christian hope the bodies of Lionel MADDISON, son of Rowland MADDISON, dated 1624. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. A notable member of the name was James MADISON (1751-1836) 4th president of the USA, born in Port Conway, Virginia. He was descended from John MADISON, a ship's carpenter from Gloucestershire, who had settled in Virginia in about 1653. In 1776 he was a member of the Virginian Convention, in 1780 of the Continental Congress and in 1784 of the legislature of Virginia. He was the chief author of the 'Virginia Plan' and suggested a compromise by which, for taxation, representation, etc, slaves were regarded as population and not chattels, five being reckoned as three persons, and which secured the adoption of the constitution by South Carolina and the other slave-holding states. In 1809 he was elected president. The European wars of that period were destructive of American commerce and brought on a war with Britain (1812). In 1817 at the close of his second term, MADISON retired. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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