The Marett (Marrett, Maret, Marret) family’s connection with Southampton began in the mid 18th century when Philip Marett, a gentleman from Jersey, married Mary Rowcliffe, daughter of the Southampton shipbuilder George Rowcliffe who owned a shipyard at West Quay. After Rowcliffe’s death in 1744 his shipbuilding concern was continued by his widow and daughter Mary.

Philip Marett died in 1758, aged only 37, leaving his wife and mother-in-law to expand the family’s shipbuilding interests along the western shore. They also leased land south of the West Gate and developed two existing small houses into a fine Georgian town house, known as Westgate House. Charles Marett (1756-95), the son of Philip and Mary, leased the entrance lodge to Westgate House and presumably lived there. The room above the West Gate was also leased by the Marett family at this time, probably to house some of their servants.

The next Charles Marett (1784-1870) gave up shipbuilding to become an attorney. He extended Westgate House to the rear and built a sea wall along the edge of the water-front garden. He retired in 1825 and spent the next 35 years as a gentleman of leisure until his death in 1870, after which his son Charles Marett (1816-98) took over the property. He became a barrister and moved to London, allowing his widowed sister Hannah Winifred Maes (Madam Maes) to live at Westgate House. His elder sister Frances lived at Crabwood House in Maybush. After the death of Madam Maes 1897 the corporation bought out the Marett leases on Westgate House and grounds and the house was demolished to make way for the construction of Western Esplanade.

A water trough dedicated to the memory of Madam Maes and other members of the Marett Family was paid for by public subscription and erected on Western Esplanade in 1903. The trough, built by monumental stone masons Garret & Haysom, still stands and now has Grade II listed status.

Marett Water Trough, Western Esplanade

Image Unavailable

see also

Maes, Hannah Winifred
Westgate House

Further reading:

Southampton Memorials of Care for Man and Beast, by A. G. K. Leonard, p48-52. (HS/k)
Southampton Occasional Notes, by ‘Townsman’, p84. (HS/h)
Westgate House and Madam Maes, by A. G. K. Leonard. Southampton Occasional Papers No. 1, 2003.


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