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

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775524Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 37 — Meriton, Thomas1894George Thorn-Drury

MERITON, THOMAS (fl. 1658), dramatist, born in 1638, was the second son of Thomas Meriton of Castle Leavington, Yorkshire, and Grace, daughter of Francis Wright of Bolton-on-Swale, and so grandson of George Meriton [q. v.], dean of York, and younger brother of George Meriton [q. v.], author of the 'Praise of Yorkshire Ale.' He was educated at a private school at Danby Wiske, and admitted at the unusual age of four-and-twenty a sizar of St. John's College, Cambridge, 9 May 1662, B.A. 1665, M.A. 1669.

He published two tragedies in 1658, 'Love and War,' dedicated to his brother, George Meriton, and 'The Wandring Lover,' which, according to the title-page, had been 'acted severall times privately at sundry places by the Author and his friends, with great applause.' In the dedication to Francis Wright he mentions the fact that he had also written the 'Several Affairs,' a comedy, and the 'Chast Virgin,' a romance, but that they were only shown to some private friends. 'Happy certainly,' says Langbaine, 'were those men who were not reckoned in the number of his friends.' Langbaine describes him as 'certainly the meanest Dramatick writer that ever England produc'd.'

[Dugdale's Visitation of Yorkshire (Surtees Society), p. 107; J. E. B. Mayor's Admissions to St. John's College, 1630-1655, pt. i. p. 155; (Graduati Cantabr.; Langbaine's Account of English Dram. Pcets, p. 367.]

G. T. D.