William Edward Marriott, horticulturalist, was the son of Joseph Marriott and his wife Emma, born Weston. He was trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, near London. He came to southern Africa in 1904 to join his brother, who was a farmer near Thaba Nchu in the Orange River Colony (now the Free State). By 1908 he was the curator of the Botanic Garden in Pietermaritzburg, but in 1910 gave his address as York (a few kilometres west of New Hanover), Natal. That same year he published a note on "Two fodder plants of recent introduction" in the Natal Agricultural Journal (1910, Vol. 14(1), p. 32), dealing with two species of the grass genus Paspalum. Around this time he collected ferns and was named as an important Natal fern collector in the second edition of T.R. Sim's* book on the ferns of South Africa (1915). During World War I (1914-1918) he was on active military service in German South West Africa (now Namibia) and in France. After the war he farmed on Benmore Avocado Farm near Durban. He retired in 1950 and settled in Pietermaritzburg.
The plants that Marriott collected went to the National Herbariums in Pretoria and Durban. He was a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science for some time around 1910. In 1937 he became a foundation member of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa. He was married to Jane (Jeannie) Ellen Agnes Maud Baxter, with whom he had two sons and a daughter.