Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Meriton, George (1634-1711)

1407514Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 37 — Meriton, George (1634-1711)1894Bertha Porter

MERITON or MERRITON, GEORGE (1634–1711), legal and miscellaneous writer, born in July 1634, was the eldest son of Thomas Meriton (1606–1652), second son of George Meriton [q. v.], by his wife Grace, daughter of Francis Wright of Bolton-upon-Swale, Yorkshire. He inherited the paternal estate at Castle Leavington, Yorkshire, in 1652, studied law, and became an attorney or ‘practiser of the common law’ at Northallerton in Yorkshire. On the title-page of his ‘Abridgment of the Irish Statutes’ he is described as barrister-at-law, but his name cannot be found in the books of the Inns of Court of London or Dublin. After 1684 he left England and went to Ireland, and in the autumn of 1700 had the degree of LL.B. conferred upon him by the university of Dublin. He died in Dublin in 1711. By his wife, Mary, daughter of John Palliser of Kirkby Wiske in Yorkshire, he had five sons and one daughter. His eldest son, Thomas, born in October 1657, was admitted a student of Gray's Inn, London, on 17 June 1675. George, the second son, born in 1660, who entered St. John's College, Cambridge, 13 June 1678, died in Cambridge on 14 Aug. 1680, and was buried in All Saints' Church. John, the third son, born at Kirkby Wiske, was educated at Northallerton and Christ's College, Cambridge (admitted 30 June 1682), and graduated B.A. in 1685. Luke, his father's executor, Charles, and Katherine were mentioned in Meriton's will, made 26 Sept. 1701 and proved 15 March 1711. His wife survived him.

Meriton was ‘the truly noble, judicious gentleman, and … most esteemed brother …’ to whom Thomas Meriton [q. v.] the dramatist dedicated his tragedy ‘Love and War’ in 1658. Although the writer of several books on law, his most noticeable work is a curious humorous poem, ‘The Praise of Yorkshire Ale,’ the scene of which is laid in Northallerton. To this is added ‘A Yorkshire Dialogue in its Pure Natural Dialect,’ and ‘An Alphabetical Clavis, unfolding the meaning of the Yorkshire Words made use of in the aforegoing Dialogue.’ The work, which is of no small merit, was published under the initials ‘G. M., gent.,’ in London 1683, York 1683, London 1684, York 1685 and 1697. Newsam in his ‘Poets of Yorkshire’ ascribes it to Giles Morrington, an error repeated in Ingledew's ‘History of Northallerton,’ p. 387, where the greater part of the poem is given. In Boyne's ‘Yorkshire Library’ it is ascribed to George Merrington.

Meriton's other published works include: 1. ‘Land-Lords Law,’ London, 1665, 1669 (3rd edit.), 1681, 1697 (5th edit.). 2. ‘A Touchstone of Wills,’ London, 1668, 1671, 1674. 3. ‘A Guide for Constables, Churchwardens,’ &c., London, 1669, 1681 (7th edit.). 4. ‘Anglorum Gesta, or a Brief History of England,’ London, 1675, 1678. 5. ‘A Geographical Description of the World,’ London, 1674 (2nd edit.), 1679 (3rd edit.). 6. ‘The Parson's Monitor,’ London, 1681. 7. ‘Nomenclatura Clericalis,’ London, 1685. 8. ‘A Guide to Surveyors of the High Ways,’ London, 1694. 9. ‘Immorality, Debauchery, and Profaneness Exposed,’ London, 1698 (2nd edit.). 10. ‘An Abridgment of the Irish Statutes, from the third Year of the Reign of King Edward II … with an Abridgment of English Statutes enacted since Sir Edward Poyning's Law relating to the Kingdom of Ireland,’ Dublin, 1700; London, 1724. The work was acknowledgedly used by N. Robbins, who published ‘An Exact Abridgment of all the Irish Statutes’ in Dublin in 1736. 11. ‘An Abridgment of the Act of Parliament for the better Execution of His Majesty's Declaration for the Settlement of … Ireland, 14 & 15 Car. II,’ Dublin, 1701.

A manuscript, ‘Briefe History or Account, shewing howe People did Trafficke in the World before the Invention of Money,’ &c., by George Meriton is in the British Museum (Addit. MS. 10401). In ‘Notes and Queries,’ 3rd ser. v. 480, is ascribed to Meriton the authorship of ‘Miscellanea, or a Choice Collection of Wise and Ingenious Sayings,’ &c., London, 1694, but this was the work of Guy Miege [q. v.]

[Dugdale's Visitation of Yorkshire, 1665, p. 107; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. v. 480–1; Dublin Graduates; Le Neve's Monumenta Anglicana, 1680–99, p. 4; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Marvin's Legal Bibliography; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit.; Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual; Cat. of Libr. of Trin. Coll. Dublin; Admission Reg. of Christ's Coll. Cambr. per the master; will in Public Record Office, Dublin.]

B. P.