Mourant

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Mourant family page
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WalterPhilipMourant1898.jpg

Walter Philip Mourant in 1898

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Origin of Surname

The name is of Norman-French origin. It derives from a personal name 'Moran', meaning steadfast, from the verb demorer, meaning to remain. This may also have been used as a residential name for a stranger. One who having come to a town or village, for whatever reason, stayed on permanently.

This name was probably introduced into England by followers of Duke William of Normandy in his successful invasion of England in 1066. Certainly it is one of the earliest surnames on record with early examples including Richard Morant of Devonshire in 1199, William Morand of Sussex in 1211, John le Moraunt in Suffolk in 1297 and Margery Demoraunt in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo le Demurant, which was dated 1182, in the pipe rolls of the county of Kent, during the reign of King Henry 11.

Early records

It appears in the Assize Roll of 1309, which would tend to conflict with Payne's assertion (below) that the first Mourant came to Jersey from England in the 15th Century. Janin and Johan are listed in the Jersey Chantry Certificate of 1550.

Baptism records can be found from 1540 in St Saviour.

Drouet Mourant, who was born in Jersey about 1500, was the father of Helier and grandfather of Susanne, who married Pierre Renouf.

Mourant and Picot families

Payne's Armorial of Jersey

The Marquis de Magny, in his Livre d'or de la Noblesse de France, says "la famille de Morant, de tres ancienne noblesse de Normandie, s'est repandue et a formee plusieurs branches dans les provinces voisines. In England its antiquity and possessions were equally famous. Hasted, in his History of Kent. records that William, Jordan and Henry de Morant were possessed of the manor and lands of Morant's Court, near Sevenoaks, in 1293.

A member, it is supposed, of the English branch of the family migrated to Jersey in the 15th century, probably at the period of the Wars of the Roses, which then disturbed the realm of England. The earlier registers of the parish of St Saviour in the time of Henry VIII show that the family was then numerous and influential in the island.

Jannyn Morant, who was Denunciator of the Royal Court from 1526 to 1543, married Marion, the sister and sole heir of Sire Richard Mabon, Dean of Jersey. This line became extinct in the person of their son John.

From Helier Morant, son of Drouet, was directly descended the Rev Philip Morant, whose portrait is now possessed by George Collas, of Pigueaux House, to whose grandmother it was presented by that learned ecclesiastic on the occasion of his last visit to Jersey. He was the son of Stephen Mourant, and was born at St Saviour on 6 October 1700. He is well and deservedly known in England as a scholar and a careful antiquary; he was educated at Abingdon, and then entered Pembroke College, Oxford. In August 1722 he was nominated, at the recommendation of Queen Caroline, to the office of preacher in the English Church at Amsterdam, a post he retained until 1734. He held successively the several benefices of Schellon-Bowels; Broomfield; Chicknel-Smeeley; St Mary, Colchester; Wickham-Bishops, and Aldham, all in the county of Essex; which were presented to him by Dr Gibson, Bishop of London, his particular friend and patron. He resided chiefly at Colchester, of which place he wrote a history, a work still esteemed for its deep antiquarian research; a class of study to which Mr Morant was peculiarly attached.

As a native of Jersey, he was well-versed in Norman-French, which, in conjunction with his considerable antiquarian attainments, led to his employment in preparing for the press a copy of the "Rolls of Parliament". This task was necessarily an arduous one, but he persevered in it till his death. His connection with the Channel Islands led him to examine the arguments employed by Selden in his "Mare Clausum" to prove that England always had the possession of these islands, because she has always maintained the dominion of the narrow seas. Mr Morant, admitting the former, denies the latter proposition, and states truly that they were part and parcel of the Duchy of Normandy, and were incorporated in that Duchy under the Norman Dukes. This tractate was published in the form of a letter to his early patron and firm friend Mr Falle, and is prefixed to the last edition of that divine's "History of Jersey".

It seems curious that two such extensive explorers of books as Mr Morant and Mr Falle should have overlooked the frequent mention of the name of Morant in the histories of England and France. In Jersey, the name is invariably spelled Mourant, and Mr Philip Morant omitted the superfluous 'u', evidently without knowing the history of the family whence he descended.

In a letter written by the historian Falle to Mr Morant, dated 23 October 1733, speaking of the title page of his history of that year's edition, he says: "You'll see I have erased the 'u' in your name, which indeed I believe to have crept in without reason. Many names in the island I find disfigured in like manner, by adding or subtracting a letter or two. And as to yours, I have a confused remembrance to have read Morant in fome hisftory. I think it was the name of a chancellor of France. Perhaps I may meet with the place again." In another communication of 24 November the same year, Falle says: "Looking into the 27th volume of Fleury, I meet with this passage: A Amiens, Jean Morand, Docteur en Theologie et Chanoine de la ditte ville, etc This is certainly your name, though wrote with a 'd'; for, whether with a 't' or a 'd', the pronunciation is the same."

A Mrs Mourant photographed by Ernest Baudoux

Variants

  • Mourant, 1461-78
  • Morant, 1461
  • Mourand 1461
  • Moraunt 1309
  • Moran
  • Morrant
  • Morand
  • Murrant
  • Maurand
  • Le Demurant
  • Le Moraunt
  • Demoraunt

Family records

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Mourant family trees in Jersey



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Church records



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Great War service



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