Marlborough History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Marlborough is a name that came to England in the 11th century wave of migration that was set off by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Marlborough family lived in Cheshire, at the manor of Marbury, from whence they took their name. However, we must look to Normandy to find the first record of the family. It was there that "Nicholas Merbury, Butler of the King, Normandy" [1] was found 1180-1195.

Alternatively, the family could have descended from Marlborough, a borough and market-town, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Selkley in Wiltshire. "The name, anciently written Marleberg, or Marlbridge, is supposed to be derived from the marl, or chalk, hills by which the town is surrounded. At the time of the Norman survey [(1086]), Marlborough had a church, and was held in royal demesne; soon after, a castle was erected, which seems to have been the cause of the subsequent enlargement of the town. In the time of Richard I., and during his imprisonment in Austria, his brother John took possession of this fortress; but Richard, on his return from captivity, seized it, with all the other possessions belonging to his brother, and on their reconciliation he still retained the castle of Marlborough in his own hands. " [2] In this case, the first on record was Alured de Merleberge who held lands here at the time of the Domesday Book of 1086. [1]

Early Origins of the Marlborough family

The surname Marlborough was first found in Cheshire at Marbury, a township, in the parish of Great Budworth, union of Northwich, hundred of Bucklow. [2] [3] The place name dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was first listed as Merberie and was held by William Malbank, who held them from Earl Harold. [4] Literally, it means "fortified place near a lake," from the Old English words "mere" + "burh." [5]

One of the first records of the family in England was Thomas of Marlborough (died 1236), a medieval English monk and writer, Abbot of Evesham Abbey in 1230.

A few years later, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed John de Marleberge as holding lands in Oxfordshire at that time. [3]

Early History of the Marlborough family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Marlborough research. Another 120 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1456, 1528, 1626, 1404, 1425, 1414, 1555, 1611, 1610 and are included under the topic Early Marlborough History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Marlborough Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Marlborough has been recorded under many different variations, including Marbury, Marburie, Marberrie, Marberry, Merbury, Marburry, Marburrie, Marbery, Marberie and many more.

Early Notables of the Marlborough family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Merbury of Lyonshall and Weobley, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1404 and 1425; John Merbury of Lyonshall and Weobley, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1414; Sir Laurence Murberry, High Sheriff of...
Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Marlborough Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Marlborough family to Ireland

Some of the Marlborough family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Marlborough family

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Marlboroughs were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: Gilbert Marburie who settled in Virginia in 1622; Richard Marbury settled in Virginia in 1643.


Contemporary Notables of the name Marlborough (post 1700) +

  • Morgan Marlborough (b. 1990), American soccer player for the Boston Breakers of the National Women's Soccer League
  • Norman "Norm" Richard Marlborough (b. 1945), English-born, Australian state politician who arrived in Western Australia in 1963; Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly for Cockburn in 1986
  • Victor Marlborough Silvester OBE (1900-1978), English dancer, author, musician and bandleader from the British dance band era
  • William Marlborough Pryor (b. 1945), British writer


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)


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