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This interesting surname is of Anglo Saxon origin, and is a locational name from places called Marsden in Lancashire, and the West Riding of Yorkshire, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "mearc" meaning boundary, and "denu", valley; hence, "a valley forming a natural boundary". The placename is recorded as "Merkesden" (1195), in the Pipe Rolls of Lancashire, and as "Marchesden" (1274), in the Wakefield Court Rolls. The surname dates back to the mid 13th Century (see below), and early recordings include: Johanna de Merrsden (1379), in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire, and Peter Marsden (1459), in the Kirkstall Abbey Rent Roll. Recordings from Yorkshire Church Registers include: the marriage of Alice Marsden to Richard Seller on October 23rd 1545, in Whalley, and the christening of Alicia, daughter of Joannis Marsden, on January 21st 1559, in Almondbury. A Coat of Arms granted to a Marsden family in 1733 in Lancashire is a red shield, on a silver bend, three black baldcoots red beaked and legges, in the sinister chief a silver unicorn's head erased, the Crest being a silver unicorn's head erased, guttee de sang, gorged with a blue ducal coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Marchesden, which was dated 1246, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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