Parish registers constitute the earliest archive sources from which genealogical information can be extracted on a continuous basis, as they record daily life over time. They were started in 1538, although very few survive from that date. There are a host of earlier documents which record names for various reasons (muster rolls being a good example), but, by their very nature, they are snapshots of a particular instant in time. From these documents we can get tantalising glimpses of evidence of the Marples families' existence before 1538.
The following references all come from a work by J.P. Yeatman called "Feudal Derbyshire" and published in the late nineteenth century and are all extracts from various court proceedings of one form or another. Explanatory notes in italics are enclosed in square brackets  and do not form part of the original entry. In those days it was very common to identify a particular year not, as we do today, by using the A.D. system (e.g. 1997), but by the regnal year of the monarch. This system is still used for some parliamentary proceedings and the dating of some of their Acts. I am writing this article in 1997, but I could say that I was writing it in 44 Elizabeth II instead. I have put the A.D. year in brackets after the regnal year for clarification.
7 Henry VIII (1516): Court Rolls: Tideswell: John Marpol - juror sworn on 11th October
24 Henry VII (1509): Court Rolls: Edensor and Pillesly : Roger Marpull - Juror; Jo. Marpull - prosecuted for assault
23 Henry VII (1508):
Great Court of Sir Hy.
Rich. Marpull - presented for default of Court [i.e. he failed to "lay open the said land"]
10 Edward IV (1471):
30 Henry VI (1452): Court Rolls: Ensore and Pillesly: John Merepull - frank pledge
20 Henry VI (1442): Court Rolls: Edensor and Pillesley: John M'pull - frank pledge
20 Henry VI (1442): Court Rolls: Hocklowe: Thomas Marpoll - frank pledge
4 Henry V (1417): In the Muster Roll of Philip Leche of Chatsworth: John de Marpole
7 Henry IV (1406):
Feet of fines: Clic John Marples of
Pleas Tempe Edward I (1272-1307): Peak Forest Rolls: Alan de Merple; Gamel de Merpel [2 mentions]
Pleas Tempe Edward I (1272-1307): Roll V: Olresete: Roger de Merpal (?)
Pleas Tempe Edward I
(1272-1307): Roll VIII: Pleas of Vert in the
A frankpledge is an early form of parish constable, and was usually elected by the community as a whole, meeting as "the vestry", taking that name from the fact that the church vestry offered an ideal meeting place for such activities. Note the evidence of the Marples family in Edensor in 1442, nearly a century before the parish registers start. It is possible that the John Marple mustered by Philip Leche of Chatsworth lived there as well.
The method of transferring title in land was somewhat different in medieval times from that used today. In those days it was the practice for the buyer and seller to institute court proceedings (albeit on an amicable basis) between them with the buyer acting as plaintiff and the seller as defendant. This procedure was known as fining. The result of these proceedings was to effect the desired transfer and this was recorded by the court officials on a three part document divided into top left, bottom left, and a thin strip on the right. This document was written out in such a way that all three parts contained the same written record of the court proceedings. The document was then cut into three parts with the buyer and seller receiving the left hand pieces and the court retaining the narrow right hand strip. This strip was duly filed in the court archives and is known as the foot of the document and hence the expression "feet of fines" is derived.
Clic. is an abbreviation for "clericus", Latin for clerk, and at that time a clerk
was a clerk in holy orders, or, in other words, a priest. Occasionally the term
could mean a lawyer. The term "vert" refers
to a particular type of offence that seems only capable of being committed in
the king's forest. It should be noted that the word "forest" has
absolutely nothing to do with trees! A forest is an area of land set aside for
the King's deer (over which he claimed absolute supremacy) to feed and roam
references are those associated with the Court records of Edward I, some of
which relate to the Forest of the Peak (
books that I have consulted state that the derivation of the name Marples is
"de Mapples" meaning "of the Maple
trees" and do not refer to the
There is an
alternative solution: that there are two families with no connection
whatsoever, one, the "del Mapples"
based in Rotherham; the other, the "de Merpel"
based on Marple in
I favour Marple as the village of our origin for two reasons. Firstly, the obvious association of the name; and secondly, because to favour Rotherham requires an explanation of how Mapples, where the "a" is short, rhyming with "hat" changes to Marple, where the "ar" rhymes with "far" in the one county in the country renown for its short vowels!