Short History

Originally our Family is from a place in Somerset called Merriott.

The first ancestor that we can track is a man called Eadnoth “The Staller” Thane of Gloucester, born about 1030, killed in 1067 in Gloucestershire.

Eadnoth fell in battle against the sons of Harold in 1067: “…Amidst this came one of Harold’s sons from Ireland with a naval force into the mouth of the Avon unawares, and plundered soon over all that quarter; whence they went to Bristol, and would have stormed the town; but the people bravely withstood them. When they could gain nothing from the town, they went to their ships with the booty which they had acquired by plunder; and then they advanced upon Somersetshire, and there went up; and Ednoth, master of the horse, fought with them; but he was there slain, and many good men on either side; and those that were left departed thence. Staller (an important royal official, thoughunspecified as to duties) to King Harold Godwinson and King Edward The Confessor. He was also constable of Somerset.

His son was Harding Fitzeadnoth, born about 1060 in Gloucestershire and died about 1125 in Baldwinstreet, Bristol. Harding held as his principle holding the manor of Merriott (from whence de Meriet) in 1086 in Crewkerne, Somerset, England. He lost most of the lands previously held by his father, much of which had gone to Hugh of Chester, in 1086. He was a young man in 1086, since his second son lived until the 1170’s. William of Malmesbury, speaking of Harding as then alive, tells us that he was ‘better used to whet his tongue in strife than to wield his arms in war.’ This Harding may probably be identified with the Harding who, in 1062, subscribed the confessor’s Waltham charter as ‘reginæ pincerna’, and continued after the Conquest in the household of Eadgyth, appearing as a witness to the sale of Combe to Bishop Gisa, transacted in Eadgyth’s presence at Wilton in 1072. In 1086 he held lands in Gloucestershire in pledge of a certain Brihtric, who held them in the time of Edward the Confessor. It is safe to assume that Robert FitzHarding was his son. It is possible that Harding had an elder son, Nicolas, the ancestor of the family of Meriet. If this was so, the younger son soon outstripped the older in wealth.

The parentage of Harding (living c. 1125) has been long and hotly disputed. He has been termed “son of the King of Denmark” (as in the petition of 1661), “Mayor of Bristol”, and so forth. The view now generally accepted is that he was the son of Eadnoth (killed 1068), “Staller” to King Harold and to Edward the Confessor. E.A. Freeman pronounces this descent “in the highest degree probable.”

His son was Nicholas Fitzharding De Meriet, who was born in Merriott, Somerset, in about 1100.

His brother was Robert Fitz Harding, who “may bee called Rober the Devout,” son of Harding (d), said to have been a merchant of Bristol, and of great wealth and influence, received from Henry of Anjou, in 1153 or 1154, shortlybefore his accession as Henry II, a grant (among others) of the Castle and “herness ” of Berkeley (as above mentioned) (  which was confirmed bythe said Henry when King, probably in 1155 the first year of his reign,whereby he the said Robert (doubtless) became feudal LORD OF BERKELEY.In 1168 he entetained Dermot Mae Murrough, King of Leinster, on hi sarrival, at Bristol, to solicit succour from Henry II. He founded, in1141, the Abbey of St . Augustine, at Bristol, of which he afterwardsbecame a canon.

Robert married Eve. He died 5 February 1170/1, aged about 75. His wife, who founded a priory of nuns on St. Michael’s hill, Bristol, whereof shedied Prioress, 12 March 1170, was buried with her husband.

His son was Henry de Meriet, born in 1145 in Merriott Somerset, England. Died in 1192.

*Fast forward 500 years*

Henry Merritt, born in County of Kent, England, about 1590, the first ancestor of the family who went to the USA. He went before 1628, and with others, called ” men of Kent”, founded the town of Scituate, Plymouth county, Mass., where he became a large landed proprietor, and died November, 1652.

Henry Merritt son of , born 1595, died Nov., 1653-married . He is supposed to have come from Tenterden, Kent, England. Probably one of the first settlers of Scituate, having gone therefrom Plymouth in 1626. He took the oath of fidelity, not the freeman’s oath,implying that his land was purchased, not allotted. On Apri I 10, 1628, he sold toNathaniel Tilden for 20 shillings the land “inside the fence at the north end ofthe third cliff,” which he had bought from Goodman Byrd; recorded 20 April,1644 (Plymouth, Colonial Records). His house and lot was at the corner ofGreenfield Lane and the Drift way in 1633. Freeman 1638. He had large sharesin the New Harbor marshes and was one 01 the Conihasset partners, having bought one thirtieth of Timothy Hatherly’s land I Dec., 1646. Constable 7 June,1642. Surveyor 7 March, 1643-4. Owned land next to Joseph Tilden’s in 1649·Commissioner of Excise in 1650, called Senior. Inventory was Jan 1653, amount £121 16s. 3d., of things jointly purchased by Henry Merritt, deceased, and his brother John Merritt; which remain undivided.      

Henry Merritt is the brother of John Merritt

Here is the connection (son to son to son etc.)

John Merritt (1595), my great great great great great great great great great Grandfather. At the time, he lived in Kent. His brother Henry was one of the first settlers in America and founded a village called Scituate, in Massachussets. Even today a street in Scituate is called Merritt Lane.

The unbroken chain

John Merritt (1595)
John Merritt (1618)
John Merrett (1652)
Gabriel Merrett (1681)
Gabriel Merrett (1741)
James Merrett (1774)
Abel Merrett (1818)
James Merrett (1862)
Abel John Merrett (1896)
Kenneth John Merrett (1928)
Robert Merrett (1957)
Gary Merrett (1984)