Marriott Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Marriott Surname Meaning

Male personal names generally provided the base for patronymic and pet-name surnames.  But there were exceptions.  Mary was not a common medieval name (although of course there was the Virgin Mary).  It is thought that the pet-name Marriot emerged from Mary as a surname.

Marriott Surname Resources on The Internet

Marriott and Marryat Surname Ancestry

  • from England (Midlands)
  • to America and Australia

England.  The Marriott name was mainly to be found in the Midlands counties of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.  It cropped up most frequently in the records of Mansfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield.  There were also early references in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.

Marriott appeared in Leicestershire villages such as Long Clawson by Melton Mowbray (from whence came early immigrants to America) and in nearby Langar and Colston Bassett.  Marriotts have been living at Cotesbach Hall in Leicestershire since the 1760’s.

Then there is a Marriott family in Yorkshire which traces itself back to the late 17th century to Dewsbury. These Marriotts were first yeomen farmers and, later in Batley, wool merchants.

Marriotts in London in the 17th century included:

  • John Marriot and his son Richard, publishers and booksellers on Fleet Street
  • Ben Marriot, a lawyer with a prodigious appetite
  • and John and Erasmus Marriott, apprentice clockmakers.

James Marriott came into the manor of Horsmonden in Kent in the 1720’s through marriage. Thomas Marriott, who helped to develop the Montpelier estate in London in the 19th century, came from the Marriotts of Sturston Hall in Suffolk.

John de Maryat, a Huguenot officer, was said to have “had the honor of dancing in a masque before the Virgin Queen at Trinity College, Cambridge.”  He later settled in Suffolk.

His line included Thomas Marryat, a somewhat eccentric 18th century physician, and Joseph Marryat who became an MP and a British agent for the West Indies in the early 19th century.  His son Frederick made his name as a writer of sea stories, his grandson Frank wrote some travel books before dying young of yellow fever.

Marriott emigrants from England during the 19th century included:

  • James Marriott, the London theatrical impresario who set up his stall in Wellington, New Zealand in the 1840’s.  He was the father of the actress Alice Marriott.
  • Frederick Marriott from Somerset who set out for San Francisco in 1849 in search of gold
  • and William Marriott, the Manchester lawyer and politician who later emigrated to South Africa.

America.   The Marriott name is not that common in America.  It first surfaced in the 1650’s with Major William Marriott in Surry county, Virginia and then in the early 1700’s with Augustine Marriott in Anne Arundel county, Maryland.  Quaker Marriotts from Northamptonshire settled in New Jersey in the 1680’s.

The Marriott name appeared most prominently in the 19th century in North Carolina (Nash County), Ohio (near Cincinnati), and in Utah.  Some of the Marriotts in America became Merritts.

Marriotts West.  Frederick Marriott had arrived in San Francisco from London in 1849 in search of gold.  He didn’t find much but he stayed and did much to enliven the growing city.

A local newspaper described him in 1874 as “an English gentleman of eccentric habits, much shrewdness and enterprise, and entire originality.”  He was an early aviation pioneer, a newspaper publisher, and the first to install a telephone in San Francisco.  His son took over the San Francisco News Letter and survived a murder attempt by one disgruntled reader in 1902.

John Marriott who reached from Northampton in the 1850’s was one of the pioneers of the Mormon church in Utah.  His son Hyrum ended up scratching out a bare living as a sheep farmer near Ogden.

So Hyrum’s son J. Williard Marriott, the second of six children, set off for Washington DC in 1927 to try to better himself.  He opened a root beer stall there with his wife Alice.  This business expanded into a restaurant chain and, later, into Marriott hotels. His son J.W. Marriott, like his father a Mormon, is the present CEO of this giant international hotel chain.

Australia.  Marriotts figured prominently in the early history of Tasmania.  Fitzherbert Marriott was an Anglican priest who arrived in Hobart in 1843 and was soon appointed archdeacon there.  He didn’t stay, however.

Three Marriott brothers who came in the 1870’s took to the backwoods and hacked their way through the thick forest of the Tyenna valley to become farmers and landowners there.

Son Charles built Marriott’s Guesthouse in 1910 in what is now the Mount Field national park. Finally, Frank Marriott arrived from London in 1903.  Despite being blinded in the trenches during World War One, he returned to Tasmania and entered politics, serving the Darwin district from 1922 to 1941.

Marriott Surname Miscellany

The Mariot/Marriott Name.  Mariot is a diminutive of Mary, itself coming from the Hebrew and probably meaning “wished-for child.”  The name as Maria or Mary was introduced into Europe by Crusaders in the 12th century.  In this case the suffix “ot” attached to a forename would indicate the diminutive or pet form.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hervicus Mariot.  This was dated 1185 in the register of the Knights Templars (Crusaders) in Warwickshire.

Ben Mariot, the Great Eater.  Ben Mariot was a lawyer in Gray’s Inn in London at the time of Samuel Pepys.  He was known for his prodigious appetite.  It was said that, being born, he sucked his mother and half a dozen nurses dry.  As he increased in years, so did his stomach.  At 15, he could master a whole turkey and all its trimmings at a seating.  When adult, his ration was twelve pounds of meat each day.

  • “Here to your views presented the great Eater,
  • Mariot the lawyer, Gray’s Inn Cormorant;
  • Who for his gut is become a mere cheater;
  • Those that will feed him council shall not want.”

This verse appeared with an engraving of the man that has been handed down.

The Marriotts from Horsmonden in Kent.  James Marriott gained estates through marriage in Horsmonden, a small village near Tonbridge in Kent. Subsequent Marriotts were rectors of the local church.  They included in Victorian times the Rev. Sir William Marriott, the subject of Anthony Cronk’s 1975 book, The Wealden Rector.

A branch of this family emigrated to America in the 1740’s and settled in Ohio near Cincinnati.  The clergyman John Marriott never married.  But the line there has continued with other Marriotts.

The Marriotts of Colston Bassett in Nottinghamshire.  The Marriott family is thought to be the oldest family in the village.  They were recorded as living in the village as early as 1713.  The family purchased what is now known as Home Farm on Church Gate in 1801 when it was known as The Pingle and included five acres of land and buildings.

There is a stone in the churchyard in memory of John Marriott, “who successfully practiced as a surgeon in this neighborhood for upwards of fifty years.”  He died on January 2, 1874 in his eightieth year.  A year earlier, his grandson John had decided to emigrate and embarked on the Charlotte Gladstone for New Zealand.

Alice Marriott on the English Stage.  Alice Marriott was an institution on the English stage in the mid 19th century.  She had a fine presence, a beautiful voice and phenomenal memory, and acted for well over forty years, deploying an enormous repertoire of long and difficult parts.  She had dramatic intensity to a degree and a high reputation as an emotional actress.

She had as well a fondness for masculine doublet and hose and for playing the masculine parts which not infrequently were entrusted to women in those Victorian days.  Her Hamlet was famous.  She could do as she liked since she had her own company and was even for some years lessee of several theatres, including the Sadler’s Wells and the Standard at Shoreditch.  She also played in the provinces and even took her own Hamlet to America in the 1870’s.

Alice made a great deal of money and would have been wealthy had she not met and married a certain Robert Edgar.  He was convinced that he knew the best way to invest her money.  He had a mania for buying up shop property at high prices and then selling them, generally at a loss.

Marriott’s Guesthouse in Tasmania.  Charles Marriott purchased land around Russell Falls and conceived the idea of building a guest house on the banks of the Russell river nearby.  To make his dream a reality, he had to clear virgin land, using cross-cut saws, stump-jacks, mattocks and picks, assisted only by his children.  A six-roomed house was built for the Marriotts and afternoon teas were introduced for visitors in the area.  It was in 1910 that the Guesthouse first opened its doors to the public.

Charles was also a road contractor and was involved in the building of the road from Russell to Russell Falls. He had a “brake,” which held eight passengers, and he used to drive to Russell each day to meet the train which brought the tourists, and take them back to his home where his wife Mabel would provide a welcome hot lunch.  After they had seen the Falls, Charles would return them to Russell in time to make the return train journey to Hobart.

In 1917 a railway extension was completed to Russell Falls and business grew rapidly.   The Guesthouse, now called Park House, was extended to thirty six rooms, with dining room seating for eighty people in one sitting.   And Russell Falls became part of the newly created National Park.

Cedric Marriott took over the management of Park House from his father until the property was sold in the 1950’s.  Sadly the house burned down in 1964.

The First Marriott Hotel.  In 1927 J. Willard Marriott and his wife Alice opened the first A&W root beer franchise on the East Coast, a nine-seat stand on 14th Street Northwest.  By then, his father’s sheep business had been destroyed by the Depression.  Hyrum Marriott had borrowed $20 a head on his sheep before their value plummeted to $3 a head, a lesson in debt that left a deep imprint on J. Willard.

It was not until the 1950’s that J. Willard opened his first hotel.  He had purchased a piece of land abutting the Twin Bridges where he planned to build a commissary there to supply his restaurants.  However, with the birth of the interstate highway program, some business associates convinced him that the land was too valuable for this sort of warehouse.  He decided instead to open what would become one of the country’s first motor hotels.  It had 365 rooms, bellmen on bicycles. rooms at $8 per car with $1 extra for each person.

In late winter, though, the occupancy rate had dropped to 20 percent.  Bill Marriott went into his father’s office and said:

“You’ve got me doing all these odds and ends around here, why don’t you let me run the hotel?” “You don’t know anything about the hotel business,” J. Willard said. “Neither do you,” Bill Marriott replied.

With his father’s acquiescence, Bill Marriott then looked for ways to squeeze more money out of the hotel.

Marriott Names

  • John Marriot was a prominent London publisher of the early 17th century.
  • James Marriott was an 18th century judge and politician and a friend of the poet Thomas Gray.
  • Captain Frederick Marryat, a contemporary of Dickens, was a pioneer of the sea story.  He is best known today for his children’s story The Children of the New Forest.
  • Alice Marriott was a well-known actress on the London stage in the mid 19th century.
  • Frederick Marriott was an early aviation pioneer in California who might even have come up with the word “aeroplane.”
  • J. Willard Marriott was the founder of the Marriott international hotel chain.
  • Steve Marriott was the mod face of the English rock group Small Faces in the late 1960’s.

Marriott Numbers Today

  • 17,000 in the UK (most numerous in Derbyshire)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in Missouri)
  • 5,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

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Written by Colin Shelley

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