Mellett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Mellett family first reached the shores of England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Their name is derived from 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 Mellett 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 Mellett family

The surname Mellett 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 Mellett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mellett 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 Mellett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mellett Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval 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. The name has been spelled Mallet, Mallett, Mallit, Mallitt, Malott, Mallot and many more.

Early Notables of the Mellett 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 Mellett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Mellett migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Mellett or a variant listed above:

Mellett Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ellinor Mellett, who landed in Virginia in 1663 [8]
Mellett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • S Mellett, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [8]
  • Thomas Mellett, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1850 [8]
  • Michael M Mellett, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1869 [8]
  • Richard Mellett, aged 30, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1872 [8]

Australia Mellett migration to Australia +

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

Mellett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Mellett, (b. 1837), aged 19, Cornish agricultural labourer, from travelling aboard the ship "Kate" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 23rd December 1856 [9]

New Zealand Mellett migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Mellett Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Mellett, (b. 1824), aged 35, English labourer from Northampton travelling from London aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th November 1859 [10]
  • Mrs. Mary Ann Mellett, (b. 1829), aged 30, English settler from Northampton travelling from London aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th November 1859 [10]
  • Miss Georgina Sophia Mellett, (b. 1851), aged 8, English settler from Northampton travelling from London aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th November 1859 [10]
  • Miss Helen Edith Mellett, (b. 1856), aged 3, English settler from Northampton travelling from London aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th November 1859 [10]
  • Miss Annie Mellett, (b. 1855), aged 19, Cornish general servant departing on 7th May 1874 aboard the ship "Eastern Monarch" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 22nd July 1874 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Mellett (post 1700) +

  • Donald Ring Mellett (1891-1926), American newspaper editor
  • Coleman Mellett (1975-2009), American jazz guitarist, member of Chuck Mangione's band


The Mellett 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)
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1850_59.pdf
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf


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