The surname of MIRMAN was a nickname 'the merry man' one of a joyous and festive disposition. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Early records of the name mention Adam Myryman, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Merryman, County York, 1400. John Merryman and Hester Poole were married at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1684. Thomas Jesson and Mary Merryman were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1778. The name is also spelt MERRIMAN, MERMAN, MERRYMAND and MERYMAN. A notable member of the name was Brian MERRIMAN (1747-1805) the Irish-Gaelic poet, born in Enniston, County Clare, the son of a stone-mason. He became a schoolmaster and small farmer in Feakle, later (1790) marrying and settling as a mathematics teacher in Limerick. John Xavier MERRIMAN (1841-1926) was the English-born South African statesman, born in Street, Somerset. He went early to South Africa, where his father was Bishop of Grahamstown. He was a member of various Cape ministries from 1875, and premier (South African party) 1908-10. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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