Merryman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Merryman is an ancient name that was given to a person in Britain soon after the arrival of the Normans in the 1066. It is a name for a person who was 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 Merryman family

The surname Merryman 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 Merryman family

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

Merryman Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Marmion, Marmyon, Merryman, Merriman and others.

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

Ireland Migration of the Merryman family to Ireland

Some of the Merryman 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.


United States Merryman migration to the United States +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Merryman or a variant listed above:

Merryman Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Audrey Merryman and Anne settled in Virginia in 1643
  • Ann Merryman, who landed in Virginia in 1643 [6]
  • James Merryman, who landed in Virginia in 1643 [6]
  • Audry Merryman, who arrived in Virginia in 1649 [6]
  • William Merryman, who arrived in Maryland in 1663 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Merryman Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Fra Merryman, who landed in Virginia in 1717 [6]
  • Fran Merryman, who arrived in Virginia in 1718 [6]

Canada Merryman migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Merryman Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Merryman, aged 30, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin, Ireland
  • James Merryman, aged 26, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin, Ireland
  • Andrew Merryman, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin, Ireland
  • Clement Merryman, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin, Ireland
  • Ellen Merryman Junior, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin, Ireland
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Merryman migration to Australia +

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

Merryman Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mark Merryman, aged 31, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Himalaya" [7]
  • Mark Merryman, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Himalaya" in 1849 [7]
  • Anne Merryman, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"

Contemporary Notables of the name Merryman (post 1700) +

  • Walter Merryman, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1948
  • John D. Merryman, American politician, U.S. Collector of Customs, 1881
  • John Merryman (1824-1881), American State Treasurer of Maryland from 1870 to 1872
  • Marjorie Merryman (b. 1951), award-winning American composer, author, and music educator
  • Major-General John Merryman Franklin (1895-1975), American Assistant Chief of Transportation (1944-1946) [8]
  • Arthur Merryman Gilbert, American Democrat politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Berkeley County, 1931-32; Postmaster at Martinsburg, West Virginia, 1942-46 (acting, 1942-46) [9]
  • Merryman Kemp, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kentucky, 1996 [10]


  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.
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The HIMALAYA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Himalaya.htm
  8. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, February 29) John Franklin. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Franklin/John_Merryman/USA.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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