Marett

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Sir Robert Hugh Kirk Marett, 20th century diplomat and politician
Robert P Marett

Origin of Surname

The Rev George Balleine says that the Marett and Dumaresq families, which in turn held La Haule Manor, came from swampy surroundings, for "Maresq" and "Marest" are both Old French for a marsh.

However, the name, which is common under a number of spellings in England, has other possible origins. The first is locational from a place called "Merriott" in Somerset. This placename is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Meriet" and translates as "the gate at the boundary", and as such refers to an old parish boundary, or possibly a portcullis which formed part of defensive wall. The word derives from the pre 7th century Olde English "gemaere", meaning boundary and "geat", a gate or bar or sometimes the road itself. Another possible derivation is from either of two medieval personal names. The first is a diminutive of the Hebrew personal name Mary, introduced by the Crusaders mainly in the 12th century, and the second from Meryet, itself from the pre 7th century Olde English and Norse Viking "Maergeat", meaning "famous people". This was the tribal or clan name to which the legendary "Beowulf" belonged. Early recordings of the surname include Ralph Meriet in the 1202 rolls of Lincoln, John Meryet in the 1316 rolls of Warwickshire, and John Maryatt in the court rolls of Colchester, Essex, in the year 1375. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hardinus de Meriet. This was dated 1084, in the Geld Roll of the county of Somerset.

The name is known in Normandy as Marette, but records only trace it back to 1551. It is suggested that it is derived from the hamlet La Marette or from the ancient French marette, a litle mare.

Early records

Marett is recorded in the Short Inquisition of 1274 and Macy and Raulin Maret are listed in the Jersey Chantry Certificate of 1550

Payne's Armorial of Jersey

This family is probably of Norman, certainly of French, origin, and is not, as is sometimes supposed, a branch of the English family of Marriott, although the name and arms of both are somewhat analogous.
It has been settled in the island from a very remote period; for, in 1295, Ranulph Maret, priest, son of Peter Maret, was collated by Edward I to the rectory of St Helier, as a recognition of, rather than a compensation for, the serious losses sustained by himself and family on the occasion of an incursion of the French, sometime previous to that date.
By the Extente of 1331, it appears that Thomas Maret held the fief es Ferans, in the parish of St John, for which he owed, in the quaint language of this record, "Vingt deniers, une gueline, et un pain". There was also, at this early period, a fief termed Maret, in the same parish.
Dom Audrey Maret was Prior of St Clement in 1363, and is mentioned in an Act of the Royal Court, of the date of Tuesday before the Nativity of Our Lady, in that year.
Denis Maret was Cousteur of the Parish of St John, as is shown by a deed dated 22 August 1545.
Nicholas Maret was Rector of the Parish of St John in the reign of Edward VI, and was prominent among the earliest promoters of the Reformation in the island. On the accession of Queen Mary, he sought a temporary refuge in France; but, on her death, returned to Jersey, and resumed his sacerdotal duties. He is supposed to have been the brother of Laurence, and the uncle of Vincent Maret, the deacon of the same parish.
Philip Maret, who was Advocate-General of Jersey in 1608, afterwards became Solicitor-General. Owing to a dispute with the Bailly, John Herault, he was deprived of the latter office in 1616. This did not, however, prevent his subsequent election to the office of Jurat of the Royal Court, into which he was sworn on 12 March 1628. In May 1632 he was appointed by Sir Thomas Jermyn, Lieutenant-Governor of the island, during the absence of Captain Thomas Rainsford. He died in January, 1636-7, and was buried in the parish church of St Brelade.
Philip Maret, son of the preceding, was a victim of the parliamentary excesses in Jersey; for, having protested against the exactions and tyranny of the then Governor, Colonel Robert Gibbon, was by him committed as a close prisoner to Mont Orgueil Castle. He contrived to obtain his liberty on bail sometime afterwards, when he endeavoured, though unsuccessfully, to obtain redress from the Protector. The Restoration, however, relieved Mr Maret, with the Royalists of Jersey generally, from the exactions and persecutions to which they were subjected by their political antagonists. Philip Maret died without issue in 1675-6, leaving no inconsiderable property, part of which was inherited by his paternal relatives, and the remainder, including the estate of Avranche, devolved upon his halfsister, Susan Dumaresq, widow of Elias Maret. From this lady the seat has descended to Peter Maret, the present Seigneur. A characteristic portrait of Philip Maret is preserved at Avranche.
Francis Marett (as, about this period, the surname was written) was Seigneur of Avranche, and an Advocate of the Royal Court. He was afterwards preferred to the office of Receiver of the King's Revenues in Jersey, and finally elected Jurat, a dignity he enjoyed until his death, in 1702. His eldest son, Francis Marett, Seigneur of Avranche, was sworn an Advocate of the Royal Court, in January 1765. He then became Jurat, and fulfilled the duties of that post for several years. In early life he travelled through France, Switzerland, and Italy. He was a man of varied information, and critical taste in science and art. He died in 1801, and, leaving no issue, the bulk of his property descended to his nephew, Philip Marett, Seigneur of Avranche, who was successively Advocate, Jurat, and Lieutenant Bailly of the Royal Court. As Constable of the parish of St Lawrence, and as Jurat, he was a member of the insular States of Jersey for little less than half a century, and had the honour of being deputed by that Assembly to defend the interests of the island, on several important occasions. He was for many years Colonel of the St Lawrence battalion of the Militia.
His son, Peter Marett, Lieutenant-Colonel RJM, is the present Seigneur of Avranche, and the representative of the eldest surviving branch of the family. Peter Daniel Marett, brother of Philip, entered the service of the Honourable East-India Company in 1709, and obtained an ensigncy in 1st Madras Native Infantry. He was stationed at Vellore in 1800, the scene of the first mutiny of the native troops, and narrowly escaped being put to death by the revolters on that occasion. He attained the rank of major in 1817, but from ill-health was compelled to retire shortly afterwards from the service. He returned to his native island, where he continued to reside until his death in 1838. His son, Robert Pipon Marett, who represents a junior section of this family, is Advocate-General of Jersey, and who during his period of office as Constable of St Helier has done very much to improve and beautify the chief town. He is also favourably known as the author of a life of Le Geyt, the insular legist.

Arms

As borne by Peter Marett) : Argent, three bars, gules. Quartering : Argent, a cross, indented, sable, for Romeril Gules, three escallops, or, for Dumaresq Gules, three eagles, displayed, or, a crescent for difference, for Lempriere Gules, an anchor, erect, or ; on a chief of the second, three roses, of the first, a crescent for difference, for Mauger Azure, a crescent, argent, for Luce Impaling : Argent, three trefoils, sable, a mullet for difference, for Payn. Crest : A talbot, ppr.

As borne by Robert-Pipon Maret) : Argent, three bars, gules, a mullet for difference. Quartering : Argent, a cross, indented, sable, for Romeril Gules, three escallops, or, for Dumaresq Gules, three eagles, displayed, or, a crescent for difference, for Lempriere Per chevron, gules and or, in chief two mullets, argent, for Pipon.

Crest : A talbot, ppr

Variants

  • de Maret
  • La Mareise 1309
  • Maretus 1274
  • Maret, 1295
  • Marett, 1668
  • Marret, 1607
  • Marette
  • Marrett

The Jersey Maretts probably had no connection with these families

  • Marriott
  • Merrett
  • Merritt
  • Merriott
  • Merit
  • Merioth
  • Meriott
  • Meritt
  • Meryett

Family records

Family trees

Marett family histories

Church records

Notable family members

Family properties

References

Marett, Robert, Maretts of La Haule

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