Merson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

When the ancestors of the Merson family emigrated to England following the Norman Conquest in 1066 they brought their family name with them. They lived in one of the places called Merton in South London, Devon, Norfolk. The family also lived in the places named Marton in Cheshire, Cleveland, Humberside, Lincolnshire, Shropshire, the North Riding in Yorkshire and Warwickshire.

There were also places named Martin in Hampshire and Lincolnshire. All of these place-names were derived from the Old English words mere, which means lake or pool, and tun, which means enclosure or settlement. [1]

Early Origins of the Merson family

The surname Merson was first found in Devon, South London, Norfolk or in Oxfordshire. The South London village is technically oldest as it dates back to Saxon times when it was listed as Mertone in 967. The remaining place name were listed as follows in the Domesday Book: Mertone (Devon); Meretone (South London); Mertuna [2]; and Meretone (Oxfordshire.) [3]

Great Torrington in Devon was home to some of the family in early times. "At a very early period it gave the title of Baron to its lords, who had the power of life and death throughout the lordship. In 1340, Richard de Merton, in whose possession it then was, erected a castle here, of which the chapel was remaining about the close of the last century (1700)." [4]

The London Borough of Merton was formed under the London Government Act 1963 and includes the Merton and Morden Urban District. Merton College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford.

Continued our quest for early records of the surname, some of the earliest records include Adam de Mertuna in 1189 and Thomas de Marton in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire in 1212. [5] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 lists John de Merton and William de Merton in Oxfordshire, and Walter de Merton in Norfolk. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Alicia de Merton and Thomas de Merton. [6]

"In the reign of Henry III., Walter de Merton (c. 1205-1277), lord high chancellor of England, and afterwards Bishop of Rochester, founded [in Merton, Surrey] a seminary of learning, which he subsequently removed to Oxford, on the foundation of Merton College." [4]

Early History of the Merson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merson research. Another 132 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1277, 1400, 1394, 1277, 1274, 1585 and 1626 are included under the topic Early Merson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Merson Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Merson has been recorded under many different variations, including Mertone, Merton, Merten, Mertens, Mertin, Mertins, Murton, Myrton, Myrtone, Mertoun and many more.

Early Notables of the Merson family (pre 1700)

Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Merson migration to Australia +

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

Merson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Eliza Merson, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Himalaya" [7]
  • Ellis Merson, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Himalaya" in 1849 [7]

New Zealand Merson 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:

Merson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Merson, (b. 1822), aged 31, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Egmont" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 23rd December 1853 [8]
  • Mrs. Ellen Merson, (b. 1826), aged 27, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Egmont" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 23rd December 1853 [8]
  • Miss Ellen Merson, (b. 1852), aged 1, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Egmont" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 23rd December 1853 [8]
  • H. Merson, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Balaklava" in 1864
  • Emma Merson, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Caroline Coventry" in 1869

Contemporary Notables of the name Merson (post 1700) +

  • John Warren Merson (1922-2000), American Major League Baseball second baseman who played from 1951 through 1953
  • Billy Merson (1879-1947), English music hall performer and songwriter
  • Paul Charles Merson (b. 1968), English former professional footballer and manager
  • George F. Merson (1866-1959), Scottish pharmacist who produced surgical catgut, founder of G.F.Mersons Limited which was bought out by Johnson & Johnson in 1947
  • Luc-Olivier Merson (1846-1920), French academic painter and illustrator, best known for his designs on postage stamps and currency


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Page, William (ed), A History of the County of Norfolk. London: Victoria County History, 1906. Print
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The HIMALAYA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Himalaya.htm
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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