Marsden History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Marsden name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in the settlements named Marsden in Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire. The surname Marsden belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Marsden family

The surname Marsden was first found in Lancashire at Great Marsden or Little Marsden. "This place was anciently called Merclesden, and Merlesden. In the 35th of Henry III., Edmund de Lacy obtained a charter for free warren in "Great and Little Merlesden;" and in the 4th of Edward II., a fishery existed here, by grant from Henry de Lacy. Richard Merclesden was master forester of Blackburnshire to Isabella, dowager queen, in the reign of Edward III.; and in the same reign, Henry, Duke of Lancaster, granted a tract of land in Merclesden to Richard de Walton. " [1] Another reference lists the place name as Marchesden in the 12th century and probably meant "boundary water." [2] However, we believe that the former origin of the place name and surname is more likely. One of the earliest records of the name was Alan de Marchesden who was listed in the Assize Rolls of Lancashire in 1246. [3] The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1273 listed Robert de Marcheden, Nicholaus Mercheden and Johanna de Mersseden. [4]

Early History of the Marsden family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Marsden research. Another 79 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1738, 1625, 1688, 1680 and 1681 are included under the topic Early Marsden History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Marsden Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Marsden include Marsden, Marsdon and others.

Early Notables of the Marsden family (pre 1700)

Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Marsden Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Marsden Ranking

In the United States, the name Marsden is the 10,050th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5] However, in New Zealand, the name Marsden is ranked the 752nd most popular surname with an estimated 966 people with that name. [6]


United States Marsden migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Marsden or a variant listed above:

Marsden Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Francis Marsden, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • William Marsden, who arrived in Maryland in 1674 [7]
Marsden Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Christopher Marsden, who settled in Virginia in 1700
  • Thomas and Mrs Marsden and children settled in Boston in 1769
Marsden Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Isaac Marsden, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808 [7]
  • Joshua Marsden, aged 35, who arrived in New York in 1812 [7]
  • Thomas Marsden, aged 30, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1814 [7]
  • Charles, Denton, Edward, Francis, George, Horatio, James, John, Thomas, and William Marsden all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Richard Marsden, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1873 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Marsden migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Marsden Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Abraham Marsden U.E., (Marsten) who settled in Canada c. 1784 [8]

Australia Marsden migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Marsden Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • S Marsden, who landed in Sydney, Australia in 1815
  • Mr. Henry Marsden, (b. 1777), aged 42, English weaver who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 14 years for possession of forged bank notes, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1832 [9]
  • Mr. John Marsden, English convict who was convicted in Derby, Derbyshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Caledonia" in 19th June 1822, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Mr. Robert Marsden, English convict who was convicted in Derbyshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Chapman" on 12th April 1826, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • Mr. Edmund Marsden, Welsh convict who was convicted in Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales for life, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 22nd July 1830, arriving in New South Wales [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Marsden migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Marsden Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Marsden, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842
  • Thomas Marsden, aged 30, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • Thomas Marsden, aged 43, a carpenter, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Celestial Queen" in 1872
  • Hannah Marsden, aged 38, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Celestial Queen" in 1872
  • Caroline Marsden, aged 13, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Celestial Queen" in 1872
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Marsden (post 1700) +

  • Robert Marsden Jr., American politician, Mayor of Coos Bay, Oregon, 1953-56 [13]
  • Paul Marsden, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from California 47th District, 2002 [13]
  • John Marsden, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Virginia, 2008 [13]
  • James M. Marsden, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Utah, 1936 [13]
  • Henry Marsden, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Marash, 1884 [13]
  • Dave W. Marsden, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Virginia State Senate 37th District; Elected 2011 [13]
  • Arthur Willard Marsden (b. 1880), American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State Senate 12th District, 1911-12, 1919-20 [13]
  • Gerard "Gerry" Marsden MBE (1942-2021), English musician and television personality, leader of the Merseybeat band Gerry and the Pacemakers, best known for his "You'll Never Walk Alone"
  • Simon Marsden (b. 1948), English photographer
  • Chris Marsden (b. 1969), British former football player
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mrs. Dorothy Marsden (d. 1979), New Zealander passenger, from Tokoroa, North Island, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; she died in the crash [14]
  • Mr. Joseph Alan Marsden (1934-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Tokoroa, North Island, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; he died in the crash [14]
RMS Titanic
  • Miss Evelyn Marsden, aged 28, English Stewardess from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 16 [15]


The Marsden Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Mars denique victor es
Motto Translation: Mars, though art the conqueror.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  7. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  11. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 28th January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/chapman)
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/burrell
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 26) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  14. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  15. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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