Malett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Malett was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. Malett is based on the given name Malle, which is an Old English diminutive of Mary. The name Mary was originally, a Hebrew personal name meaning wished for child. The name Malett is also derived from the given name Malo, a popular form of the name of Saint Maclovius, the 6th century Welsh monk who gave his name to the church of Saint Maclou in Rouen. Personal names derived from the names of saints, apostles, biblical figures, and missionaries are widespread in most European countries. In the Middle Ages, they became increasingly popular because people believed that the souls of the deceased continued to be involved in this world. They named their children after saints in the hope that the child would be blessed or protected by the saint.

Early Origins of the Malett family

The surname Malett was first found in Suffolk where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Cidestan.

"All the families of this name in England trace their descent from the renowned William Lord Mallet de Graville, one of the great barons who accompanied William the Conqueror." [1]

"No figure stands out more vividly in the great battle of the Conquest than does 'Guillame whom they call Malet,' as Wace suggests for bravery." [2]

William, Lord Malet of Greville was one of the greatest landowners in England, having 221 manors in Suffolk alone. He was ancestor of the Mallets of Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall, and those now resident in Jersey. William Mallet was descended from Gerard, a Viking prince and companion of Rollo, the first Duke of Normandy, about 950. They held the castle of Graville near Havre. Maternally, William Mallet was a Saxon, descended from the Earls of Mercia, and more distantly related to Morcar and Edwin, Earls of Northumberland. William Mallet was at the Battle of Hastings, and was instructed by William the Conqueror to take care of the slain King Harold's body. [3] In 1068, he proceeded north with William and led in the reduction of the cities of Nottingham and York.

Robert Malet or Mallet (d. 1106?), Baron of Eye, was "the elder son of William Malet of Graville, and succeeded to his father's possessions on his father's death in 1076. At Eye, Malet built and endowed a monastery of Benedictine monks. From his position he enjoyed considerable influence in the eastern counties, and he took a prominent part in repressing the rebellion of Ralph, Earl of Norfolk, in 1075-6, and in the capture of Norwich Castle which followed. In King William's grant of the manor of Fracenham to Archbishop Lanfranc, Malet is styled vice-comes or sheriff, and later on, at the beginning of Henry I's reign, he appears as great chamberlain of England. In the struggle between Henry and Duke Robert, Malet espoused Robert's cause, and shortly after Henry's accession he was banished from England, together with other adherents of Robert, and his estates in England were confiscated and bestowed by Henry upon Stephen of Blois. He retired to Normandy, and is supposed to have been killed at the battle of Tinchebrai in 1106." [4]

"Mallett is a slightly altered form of a very ancient name in Norfolk, where it has remained ever since the time of William the Conqueror, when Roger Mallet or Malet, lord of Eye in Suffolk, received an extensive grant of lands. The name of Malet was common in the adjoining county of Lincoln as well as in the distant county of Somerset in the reign of Edward I." [5]

Early feudal rolls provided the king of the time a method of cataloguing holdings for taxation, but today they provide a glimpse into the wide use of the name throughout ancient Britain. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included Malet filius Henry. C. Baldwin Malet, Somerset; Sarra Malet, Cambridgeshire; and Harvey Malet, Buckinghamshire. [6]

The Testa de Nevill, sive Liber Feodorum, temp. Henry III- Edward I. included Alan Malet in Derbyshire, Henry III-Edward I. [7]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Magota Malet and Yohannes Malet as holding lands there at that time. [6]

Early History of the Malett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Malett research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1290, 1582, 1665, 1614, 1622, 1600, 1606, 1626, 1623, 1686, 1666, 1679, 1681 and 1685 are included under the topic Early Malett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Malett Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Malett were recorded, including Mallet, Mallett, Mallit, Mallitt, Malott, Mallot and many more.

Early Notables of the Malett family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Thomas Malet (1582-1665) was an English judge and politician from Poyntington, Somerset, Solicitor General to Queen Henrietta Maria, imprisoned in the Tower of London for two years, Member of Parliament for Tregony (1614-1622.) He was the "great-grandson of Sir Baldwin Malet of St. Audries, Somerset, solicitor-general to Henry VIII, and...
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Malett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Malett family

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Malett arrived in North America very early: John Mallet who settled in Barbados in 1670; Estienne Mallet settled in Virginia in 1714; Jean Mallet settled in Louisiana in 1719; William Mallett settled in Virginia in 1635.



The Malett Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Ma force d'en haut
Motto Translation: My strength is from above.


  1. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  3. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)


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