The surname of MERRITT was a baptismal name 'the son of Mary' an ancient and still popular font name. Early records of the name mention MERIET SUNE, who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and appears to be the first of the name on record. Mariota Hoppesor was documented in Suffolk in the year 1195 and Mariota (without surname) was recorded in London in the year 1200. Nicholas Maryot, 1273 County Suffolk. Edward Marriott was recorded in County Cambridge in the year 1300. Ricardus Mariot of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of the year 1379. Richard Mariott and Catherine Bradbourne were married in Canterbury, Kent in the year 1677. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people.The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory.
Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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