Merriken History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Merriken comes from the ancient Norman culture that was established in Britain after the Conquest of 1066. It was a name for a person who was a mischievous child, or who liked to play tricks and make jokes, having derived from the Old French word "marmion," meaning "monkey." [1] [2]

We include this first origin only because of the fact that two noted sources do so. We prefer another source which is just a qualified and we believe more likely.

"They appear to have been a branch of the Tessons. Ralph Tesson, who brought 120 knights of his dependence to the aid of Duke William at the battle of Val des Dunes in 1047, founded c. 1055 the Abbey of Fontenay, near Caen (Gall. Christ xi. 413). A charter of his was witnessed by William Marmion or Marmilon, probably his brother, c. 1070 (Ibid.), who, with his family possessed part of Fontenay. Robert Marmion, his son, Viscount of Fontenay-le-Tesson, passed into England with the Conqueror, and had extensive grants, his descendants a century later holding 17 fees in England and 5 in Normandy (Lib. Niger: Feoda Norm. Duchesne). The Tessons of Normandy bore Gules a fesse Ermine; the Marmions Vair a fesse Gules." [3]

Early Origins of the Merriken family

The surname Merriken was first found in Warwickshire.

"They were, it is said, the hereditary Champions of Normandy; and after the Conquest, Robert de Marmion held the castle and manor of Tamworth That he received Tamworth from the Conqueror 'is verified,' says Dugdale, by an ancient window in this church, where the said King, 'being depicted in his Robes of State, and crowned, stretcheth forth his hand to him, holding a Charter therein, neer the Gate of a faire Castle.' in Warwickshire and Scrivelsby in Lincolnshire by the tenure of performing that office at the King's coronation; being bound 'to ride completely armed upon a barbed horse into Westminster Hall, and there to challenge the combat with whomsoever should dare to oppose the King's title to the crown.' His seat was at Tamworth Castle, the head of his Warwickshire barony." [4]

Robert Marmion (died 1218), the 6th Baron of Tamworth, was an English nobleman, an itinerant justice and was reputed to have been the King's Champion. He claimed descendancy from the lords of Fontenay le Marmion in Normandy, hereditary champions of the Dukes of Normandy. "Robert de Marmyon, Lord of Fonteney, obtained from his royal master, not long after the battle of Hastings, a grant of the manors of Tamworth, co. Warwick, and Scivelsby, co. Lincoln, the latter to be held 'by service of performing the office of champion at the King's Coronation.' " [5]

Early History of the Merriken family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merriken research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1425, 1489, 1603, 1639, 1449 and 1302 are included under the topic Early Merriken History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Merriken Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Marmion, Marmyon, Merryman, Merriman and others.

Early Notables of the Merriken family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Baron Marmyon of Tamworth, Simon Marmion (c. 1425-1489), a French or Burgundian Early Netherlandish painter of panels and illuminated manuscript; Shackerley [Shakerley, Shakerly, Schackerley] Marmion [Marmyon, Marmyun, or Mermion] (1603-1639)...
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merriken Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Merriken family to Ireland

Some of the Merriken family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Merriken family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Merriken or a variant listed above were: Henry and Margaret Marman, who settled in Virginia in 1732; Mary Marmion settled in Virginia in 1654; Mathew and Jane Marmion arrived in Philadelphia in 1871.



  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.


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