Capt. Frederick Marryat

Is your surname Marryat?

Research the Marryat family

Capt. Frederick Marryat's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Frederick Marryat

Birthdate: (56)
Birthplace: Westminster, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Death: August 9, 1848 (56)
Langham, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Langham, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Marryat, MP and Charlotte Marryat
Husband of Catherine Marryat
Father of Frederick Marryat; William Marryat; Norman Marryat; Samuel Francis "Frank" Marryat; Catherine Marryat and 6 others
Brother of Joseph Marryat; Charlotte Marryat; Maria Lindsay; Samuel Marryat; Ann Marryat and 8 others

Occupation: British naval officer, writer, RN, Novelist., Author
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Capt. Frederick Marryat

Captain Frederick Marryat (10 July 1792 – 9 August 1848) was an English Royal Navy officer, novelist, and a contemporary and acquaintance of Charles Dickens, noted today as an early pioneer of the sea story.

From Dictionary of Canadian Biography

MARRYAT, FREDERICK, author; b. 10 July 1792 in London, second of 15 children of Joseph Marryat and Charlotte Von Geyer; m. 21 Jan. 1819 Catherine Shairp, and they had 11 children, 8 of whom survived infancy; d. 9 Aug. 1848 in Langham, Norfolk, England.

Frederick Marryat, “a model young scamp” at Mr Freeman’s Academy in Ponders End (London), ran away twice with the intention of going to sea. His determination led his father, an influential businessman and later a Tory member of parliament, to get the boy a berth in September 1806 as a volunteer on the naval frigate Impérieuse. After service in various ships that saw more action than most, Marryat passed for lieutenant in October 1812. Promotion was delayed until 26 December because he had not been christened “according to the rules of the Established Church of England.”

In 1829 in London he published his first, largely autobiographical, novel, The naval officer; or, scenes and adventures in the life of Frank Mildmay. He became editor of the Metropolitan Magazine (London) in 1831 and its proprietor from 1832 to 1836. By 1836 he had published eight more novels, including Mr. Midshipman Easy, one of his best-known works. His vivid narrations of adventures, written with zest and humour, together with his talent for characterization, brought him immediate popular and financial success.

Volatile, even unstable, Marryat became progressively more estranged from his wife. On 3 April 1837 he left for America, ostensibly “to examine what were the effects of a democratic form of government and climate upon a people which, with all its foreign admixture, may still be considered as English,” but also with a view to taking action to protect his copyright from pirated American editions of his books and to escape from his marital problems. (He would draw up a formal instrument of separation in 1838.)

A British naval historian summed Marryat up best:

  • “energetic beyond the ordinary, gifted in diverse ways, never common-place, uncertain in temper and behaviour, and, like many other men and women, tending to overvalue the past as it receded.”

Frederick Marryat is the author of A diary in America, with remarks on its institutions (3v., London, 1839) and other works listed in the National union catalog.

From Wikipedia

He is now known particularly for the semi-autobiographical novel Mr Midshipman Easy and his children's novel The Children of the New Forest, and for a widely used system of maritime flag signalling, known as Marryat's Code.

Marryat's novels are characteristic of their time, with the concerns of family connections and social status often overshadowing the naval action, but they are interesting as fictional renditions of the author's 25 years of real-life experience at sea. These novels, much admired by men like Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad and Ernest Hemingway, were among the first sea novels. They were models for later works by C. S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian that were also set in the time of Nelson and told the stories of young men rising through the ranks through successes as naval officers. Along with his novels, Marryat was also known for his short writings on nautical subjects. These short stories, plays, pieces of travel journalism and essays appeared in The Metropolitan Magazine too, and were later published in book form as Olla Podrida. Marryat's 1839 collection of stories "The Phantom Ship" contained The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains, which includes the first female werewolf in a short story.

He was named a Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of his invention and other achievements. In 1843 he moved to a small farm at Manor Cottage in Norfolk, where he died in 1848. His daughter Florence Marryat later became well known as a writer and actress. His son Francis Samuel Marryat completed his late novel The Little Savage.


view all 16

Capt. Frederick Marryat's Timeline

July 10, 1792
Westminster, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Age 26
Age 26
Age 29
Age 33
Age 33
September 1, 1827
Age 35
Age 35
August 21, 1833
Age 41
Brighton, Sussex, England, United Kingdom