NOTES ON SURNAMES (HULL) 34
MATFIN This a Northumbrian name, though it is represented in Hull. I add it to my list as I’ve found no explanation elsewhere.
Matfin is locative in origin, from Matfen in Northumberland, circa three miles west of Stamfordham. The meaning suggested is Matta’s fen, Matta being an old English male personal name, also found in the place name Mattingley, Hampshire (Oxford English Place Names).
The Matfen family appears to have held Matfen in the 13th century. Nicholas, son of Simon de Matfen certainly held land in Matfen and had tenants.
Robert de Matfen
Simon, son of Raven de Matfen, and Adam,son of Simon “de eadem” (i.e., of Matfen).
(All from Northumberland Assize Rolls for 1256, Surtees Society Publications, vol.88)
The records of the Company of Hostmen of Newcastle upon Tyne mention name several Matfens/Matfins. A hostman was one licenced to provide hospitality to visiting merchants. Often they were also merchants themselves.
Robert Matfen admitted a member of the Company of Hostmen, 17th January 1604
John Matfen, merchant, admitted same day. John was the son of Matthew Matfen, hostman.
George Matfen, another son of Matthew, was admitted to the comapany in January 1612.
Mr. Matthew Matfin (note spelling) was a brother of the company in 1662
Charles Matfin, was a brother of the company in 1696.
(All from Surtees, vol. 105)
Matthew Matfen, sheriff of Newcastle, 1704
Roger Matfen, sheriff of Newcastle, 1714.
The earliest Yorkshire reference to the name found to date is to the marriage of John Matfin and Mary Nowles at Bradford in 1835. Matfin appears in the Hull civil registers in 1904, but only seems to be established here from 1939.
George Matfin was a crewman on the Hull trawler Kingston Peridot, lost with all hands off Iceland in January, 1968.