The Marland Family


Marlands of Marland, Lancashire

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A coherent history of the Marlands of Marland is now probably beyond our reach.


There is a brief glimpse of them in the thirteenth century, thanks to the survival of the Coucher Book, or Chartulary, of the Cistercian Abbey of Whalley. This is a collection of deeds which the Abbey kept as evidence of its extensive land holdings, much of them in Rochdale. The relevant charters are undated, but the chronology is often clear, and for some of the principals and witnesses vital dates are known.


They show that a family called de Merland held land in Merland and Spotland, and gave or leased much or all of it to the Abbey. One sequence of transactions in particular can be fairly precisely dated, involving Alan de Merland and Roger de Lascy (Constable of Chester and Lord of Clitheroe) in about 1210 (Ref.1). Hugh de Eland, who was Lord of Rochdale, is also mentioned. In the next generation, Alan's sons Adam and Andrew are documented, and the latter asks to be buried at the Abbey (Refs.2-5)


It should be mentioned that at this date the Abbey was not sited at Whalley, to the north of Rochdale, but at Stanlow, where it was founded in 1178, on a bleak promontory on the Cheshire shore of the Mersey at the mouth of the River Gowy. It was a house of the austere Cistercian order, whose monks might have been expected to be content with life on a virtual island trapped between the estuary and the marshes. But a century of misfortune - floods, fires, building disasters - left them begging for a new home, which their founding family, the de Lascys, dutifully provided at Whalley in 1295 (Refs.6,7).


The Stanlow site was left as a Grange, a sort of direct-labour farm, and this was to be the fate of Marland as well, as later documents testify (Ref.8). But clearly the de Merlands did not leave Rochdale. In 1273 Henry de Merland married his daughter Amicia to Andrew de Heley, who became the ancestor of the Chadwicks of Healey, in Spotland township (Ref.9).


In the fourteenth century records of Marlands are sparse; a Henry and his wife are recorded holding land in Warrington in 1332, and an Agnes or Auger in Salford in 1323 (Refs.10,11). Later in the century one Adam son of Nicholas is said to have held a fee in Butterworth, east of Rochdale (ref 12). In the early fifteenth century we have Henry, vicar of Rochdale (died 1456) and Roger (his brother?) (Refs.13,14). Adam Marland appears over a period of more than fifty years, first as a chaplain in 1433, as a Doctor of Divinity and priest in Berkshire in 1464, and as Dean of Kendal, and co-founder of Trinity Chapel, Rochdale in 1487 (Ref.15, pp.132,195).


In the sixteenth century they are in evidence in both Rochdale and Ashton-under-Lyne. Ann daughter of James Marland of Rochdale married Henry Asheton of Shepley (south of Ashton) according to a Visitation pedigree (Ref.16). The event is undated, but must have been around 1500. Henry Marland was granted a lease of confiscated Abbey lands in Marland in 1540, and James son of William was disputing land in Spotland in 1563 (Ref.17). A larger portion of Marland was granted to Thurstan Tyldesley, and it may be significant that the latter presented William Thompson to be Rector of Ashton-under-Lyne in 1525, and that Henry Marland had a small bequest from Thompson in 1553 (Refs.18,19). A Marland presence in Ashton at this period is confirmed by another Visitation pedigree, reporting the marriage of Edmond Hopwood of Hopwood to Jane daughter of Henry Marland of Ashton. Again, there is no firm date, but the first quarter of the sixteenth century is probable (Ref.16). The first dated appearance of a Marland in an Ashton context is Nicholas in a Duchy Court case in 1587 (Ref.20).


From James Marland of Marland, later in the century, we are on firmer ground. He is presumably the James son of William mentioned above; he married Margaret Chadwick of Healey, and we have his will from 1584 (Ref.21). There were two more generations of James Marlands, the last of which (died 1675) sold his share in the Trinity Chapel in 1665, demonstrating continuity of descent at least from the family of Dr Adam Marland (Ref.15).

  1. Chetham Soc., v.11, pp.590-593
  2. Chetham Soc., v.11, p.600
  3. Chetham Soc., v.16, p.762
  4. Chetham Soc., v.16, p.769-770
  5. Chetham Soc., v.16, p.790
  6. G. Ormerod, History of Cheshire (Helsby's revision, 1882), v.2, p.398
  7. Thomas Dunham Whitaker; History of Whalley (1801, revised 1872)
  8. e.g. Lancashire Inquests 17 Edward II; Record Soc Lancs Ches, 1915 v.70, pp.3-4
  9. Chetham Soc., v.11, p.611
  10. Lancaster Feet of Fines 6 Edward III; Record Soc Lancs Ches, 1903 v.46 83-86
  11. Lancashire Inquests 17 Edward II; Record Soc Lancs Ches, 1907 v.54, p.100-101
  12. Hulton Deeds, Lancs RO DDHU 7/6: 9 Mar 1383/4 Margery Klegg, land which Cecily her mother held as dower by Feoffment of Adam son of Nicholas of Merland
  13. Chetham Society new series volume 1, 1883, pp.23-25
  14. John Corry; The History of Lancashire (1825), v.2, p.623
  15. Henry Fishwick; The History of the Parish of Rochdale in the county of Lancaster (1889)
  16. Visitation of Lancashire 1567 William Flower, Norroy (Chetham Soc, 1870, v.81)
    Visitation of Lancashire 1664-5 Sir William Dugdale, Norroy (Chetham Soc, 1872-3, v.84,85,88)
  17. Duchy of Lancaster Pleadings 5 E1izabeth; Calendar to Pleadings, &c. p.510, No. 21
  18. State Papers 1540 p.465
  19. Chetham Soc. 1857 v.33 pp.90-92
  20. Duchy of Lancaster Pleadings 29 Elizabeth; Calendar to Pleadings, &c., p.198, No. 20
  21. Will of James of Marland in Rochdale 28 May 1584, prob. 2 Jul 1584, Chester

For text of many of the cited documents, see Marland of Marland documentary sources and History in Print

For a time-line based on this account, click here.

Webmaster: Andrew Gray

Edited: 18 December 2015