Recorded in the spellings of Marland, Marsland, and Marshland, this is an English topographical surname. The derivation is from the Norse-Viking pre 8th century 'mar' meaning a fern or marsh, or from the Old English 'mere', with the same general meaning of a wetland of bogs and lakes, and describes a person who lived at such a place. There is also a possibility that some nameholders could originate from a 'lost' village or an area such as Marshland Mouth, near Hartland Point on the Devon-Cornwall border. Residential surnames were amongst the first to be created, as natural or man made objects in the countryside such as dales, hills, brooks, or castles, were easy places of recognition in the small communities of the pre-medieval times. In this case early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic rolls and registers of the period include: James Marland of Rochdale, Lancashire in 1584, Thomas Marsland, whose will was registered at the city of Chester in 1609, and Elizabeth Marshland, who married Thomas Richards at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on July 22nd 1707. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Ricardus Mersland, in the 1379 Poll Tax Rolls for the county of Yorkshire. This was during the reign of King Richard 11nd, 1377 - 1399. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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