Recorded in several forms including Merriman, Merryman, Merriment, Maryman, and the usually Irish, Marmon and Marmion, this ancient surname is found in most parts of the British Isles, although is never common. It is a derivative of the Olde English pre 7th century personal name 'Myrige', meaning merry, which in the medival period became a nickname surname given either to a person of 'honest' character, or a professional clown, one who took part in the theatres of the day. The suffix ending "man(n)" was in the context of a surname, a form of endearment meaning "friend of". The overall meaning is probably "Merry's friend". Given the robust humour of the medieval period as shown in the famous works of Geoffrey Chaucer, the alternative possibility exists, that the name could sometimes mean the very reverse of merry! Early examples of the recordings taken from authentic registers and charters of the period include John Meryman in the registers of Gloucester, known as the "Letter books", in the year 1359, whilst Adam Myryman is recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls of the city of York. Later examples include those of Alice Merriman, who married Thomas Chalduke at St James church, Clerkenwell, London, on October 9th 1563, and John Meriment, christened at St Botolphs without Aldgate, also London, on October 17th 1686. The famous Irish poet Brian Merriman, was born in 1757, and died in 1810. The first recorded spelling of the surname is believed to be that of Adam Muryman, which was dated 1332, in the subsidy rolls of the county of Staffordshire, during the reign of King Edward 111 of England, who reigned from 1327 to 1377.
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