This lovely English medieval surname recorded in the spellings of Merry and the patronymic Merrison and Merrisson derives from the Anglo - Saxon pre 6th century word 'myrige'. As such it was originally either a personal name of endearment, or perhaps a nickname given to either a person of honest character or a professional clown or jester. It is also possible that given the robust nature of the humour of the Middle English period that the name could mean the reverse! Humour at the time was very robust, a good example being 'Little John' of Robin Hood fame, the largest man in the company. Whatever the origin the surname has a long history. The early recordings including John Myrie of Yorkshire in the Yorkshire Assize Court register of the year 1219, Robert Merye in the 1273 rolls of the county of Sussex Rolls. Somewhat later in the surviving church registers we have Samuel Merry who was christened at St. Antholins church, London in 1625, and John Merrisson, a witness at the church of St Botolph's without Aldgate, London, on November 1st 1674. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert le Mirie, which was dated circa 1200, in the Danelaw Records for the county of Leicester. This was during the reign of King John, known by the nickname of 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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