This surname was derived from the Old French word MACHUN - an occupational name - a stonemason, a skilled worker. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state.The name was originally brought into England from France during the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Early records of the name mention John Macun of London in the year 1130. Roger le Mason of the County of Oxford was documented in the year 1200. Osbert le Masson, was documented in County Oxford in the year 1279. Richard Machen of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Elizabeth Mason was baptised at Kensington Church, London in 1579. Peter Mason and Mary le Febvre, were married in Canterbury, Kent in 1685. This English surname has been in Ireland since the 13th century, where it was taken by settlers. The name is now fairly numerous in all the provinces except Connacht, but mainly it is the name of fairly recent immigrants. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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