Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Merriot, Thomas

1407547Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 37 — Merriot, Thomas1894Bertha Porter

MERRIOT, THOMAS (1589–1662), grammarian, born in 1589 at Steeple Langford in Wiltshire, entered Winchester College in 1601, and matriculated at New College, Oxford, on 14 Oct. 1608, where he devoted himself to the study of law, and was fellow from 1610 to 1624, and B.C.L. on 22 Nov. 1615. He taught for some time in the grammar school which then adjoined the college, until he was made vicar of Swalcliffe near Banbury, by the warden and fellows of New College on 15 Jan. 1623–1624. Previous to 1637 he appears to have had misunderstandings with his parishioners, who, in consequence, assessed him at a high rate for ship-money. Against this ‘very hard measure’ he petitioned the council of state on 10 May 1637. In 1642 his royalist sympathies brought him into difficulties with the parliament, and he was summoned to appear before the House of Commons on 26 July. His living was sequestered by the Westminster assembly, and on his petitioning the Committee for Plundered Ministers, he was granted (31 Aug. 1646) ‘a full and legal hearing’ by the committee of his own county. He resigned the vicarage of Swalcliffe on 10 March 1658–9 (cf. Collectanea Topographica et Genealog. iii. 184, 347). He died at Swalcliffe on 19 July 1662, and was buried in the church, where a brass tablet to his memory still remains.

Merriot was a good latinist and an orator. He taught grammar at Swalcliffe till he was of an advanced age. On some points he dissented from Lily, whose grammar he had studied so assiduously at Winchester. He published: 1. ‘Vulgaria, sive Miscellanea prosaica hinc inde decerpta,’ Oxford, 1652. 2. ‘Adagia Selectissima,’ Oxford, 1652. 3. ‘Grammaticall Miscellanies,’ Oxford, 1660. Wood also mentions ‘several Latin copies of verses, dispersed in books.’

[Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), vol. iii. cols. 589–90; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Kirby's Winchester Scholars, p. 159; Clark's Reg. Univ. Oxf. i. 272, ii. 302, iii. 342; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1637, p. 90; Commons' Journals, ii. 692; Hunter's Chorus Vatum, Addit. MS. 24491, v. 437; Minutes of Committee for Plundered Ministers, Addit. MS. 15670 fol. 198; Halkett and Laing's Dict. of Anon. and Pseudon. Lit.; information from the Rev. Dr. Wilkinson of Swalcliffe.]

B. P.