Marvell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Atlantic Ocean to the north and west and the English Channel to the south borders Cornwall, the homeland to the Marvell family name. Even though the usage of surnames was common during the Middle Ages, all English people were known only by a single name in early times. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Marvell family originally lived in Cornwall, in the village of Merryfield.

Early Origins of the Marvell family

The surname Marvell was first found in Cornwall and Devon, where this prominent family flourished. Walter Merifild was recorded in Devon in 1200 but it is believed the family had established itself earlier in St. Columb, Cornwall.

"Towards the conclusion of the fifteenth century, [Tacabre, Cornwall] was seized by Richard III. as having been the property of the Duchess of Exeter, the sister of Edward IV. Some time after this it acquired the name of Merrifield, by which appellation it is still known; but from whence this name is derived, cannot be ascertained. It is conjectured to be a corruption of Mary-field, probably from its belonging to the convent of St. Mary de Graces. This manor is of considerable dimensions, extending into the parishes of Whitstone, Tamerton, and St. Stephens near Launceston in Cornwall, and into the parish of Sourton in Devonshire. Connected with this manor of Merrifield is the barton of Tacabre, which still retains its primitive name." [1]

Early History of the Marvell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Marvell research. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1341, 1584, 1621, 1678, 1659 and 1678 are included under the topic Early Marvell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Marvell Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Merrifield, Merrifild, Merefield, Merrefield, Merrifeild, Merefeild, Maryfield, Meryfield, Meryfeld, Merryfield, Merrivale, Merivale, Marrivale, Merevale, Meervale, Merrivall, Merryvall and many more.

Early Notables of the Marvell family (pre 1700)

Another 36 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Marvell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Marvell migration to the United States +

The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name Marvell:

Marvell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Marvell, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [2]

Australia Marvell migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Marvell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward Marvell, (b. 1824), aged 18, English farmer who was convicted in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Duchess of Northumberland" on 1st October 1842, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1903 [3]
  • William Marvell, aged 35, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Emily" [4]
  • William Marvell, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Emily" in 1849 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Marvell (post 1700) +

  • Andrew Marvell (1621-1678), English poet
  • Marvell Thomas (1941-2017), American keyboardist
  • Marvell Wynne (b. 1959), American Major League Baseball who played from 1983 to 1990


  1. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/duchess-of-northumberland
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The EMILY 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Emily.htm


Houseofnames.com on Facebook