Select Marriott Miscellany
accounts over the years:
- The Mariot/Marriott Name
- Ben Mariot, the Great Eater
- The Marriotts from Horsmonden in Kent
- The Marriotts of Colston Bassett in Nottinghamshire
- Alice Marriott on the English Stage
- Marriott’s Guesthouse in Tasmania
- The First Marriott Hotel
The Mariot/Marriott Name
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
diminitive or pet form.
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
“Here to your views presented the great
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
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
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 practised 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
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
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
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
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
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
In late winter, though, the occupancy rate had dropped to 20
percent. Bill Marriott went into his father’s office and said:
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.
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