Great Marsden


Great Marsden is now called Nelson.


MARSDEN, a township and two chapelries in Whalley parish, Lancashire. The township consists of the two chapelries, called Little M. and Great M.; lies on the Leeds and Liverpool canal, and on the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway, 2½ and 4 miles NE of Burnley; has two stations on the railway, at Brierfield for Little M., and at Nelson for Great M.; and has a post office, of the name of Nelson-in-Marsden, under Burnley. Acres, of Little M., 1,470; of Great M., 2,890. Real property of the whole, £27,821; of which £1,304 are in quarries, and £11,068 in mines. Pop. of Little M., in 1851, 3,997; in 1861, 5,162. Houses, 1,005. Pop. of Great M., in 1851, 2,071; in 1861, 2,180. Houses, 422. The increase of pop. was caused by the erection of cotton-mills. The property both of Little M. and of Great M. is much subdivided. Marsden Hall is the seat of W. Pinder, Esq.; Southfield, of N. England, Esq.; and Spring House, of T. Mason, Esq. Nelson, in Little M., is lighted with gas, and publishes a weekly newspaper. The cotton manufacture is carried on, and coal and stone abound. Little M. is a p. curacy, Great M. a vicarage, in the dio. of Manchester. Value of Little M., £180;* of Great M., £300.* Patrons of the former, Hulme's Trustees; of the latter, alt. the Crown and the Bishop. The church of Little M. is a plain stone building; and that of Great M. was erected in 1848, at a cost of £2,050, and is in the pointed style. There are chapels for Independents and Quakers, three for Wesleyans, and two for Primitive Methodists, three national schools, and a mechanics' institution.

John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)


Archives & Libraries

Nelson Library,
Market Square,



There are more than 30 churches identified in this place. Please click here for a complete list.

Civil Registration

The Register Office covering the Great Marsden area is Burnley and Pendle.


Description & Travel

Local information about Nelson provided by Pendle.Net.

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The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"GREAT AND LITTLE MARSDEN, a township in the parish of Whalley, higher division of the hundred of Blackburn, county Lancaster, 3 miles N.E. of Burnley. Whalley is its post town. It has a station on the East Lancashire line of railway, and there is also one at Nelson. Little Marsden is the most populous township, and is situated on the turnpike road leading from Burnley to Colne, and near the river Calder. The township of Great Marsden was formed into a district parish under Sir Robert Peel's Act. A large trade is done in cotton spinning and manufacturing. There are extensive collieries and stone quarries. The soil is of various quality, resting on a subsoil of carboniferous limestone and slate. The land is almost wholly in pasture. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Manchester, value £150, in the patronage of the crown and bishop alternately. The church, dedicated to St. John, is a neat stone structure erected in 1848 at an expense of £2,050, the greater part of the sum being defrayed by Mrs. Walton and Mrs. Moore. An endowed school for both sexes was founded by the above-named ladies. The living of Little Marsden is a perpetual curacy, value £150, in the patronage of Hulme's trustees. The church is a neat stone structure. There are two National schools, and places of worship for the Wesleyans, Independents, Baptists, and Society of Friends. In the vicinity is Castor Cliff camp, surrounded by a double ditch.


Historical Geography

In 1835 Great and Little Marsden was a township in the parish of Whalley.

You can see the administrative areas in which Great Marsden has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.





View maps of Great Marsden and places within its boundaries.

A map of Great Marsden around 1890.

View a map of the boundaries of this town/parish.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SD877372 (Lat/Lon: 53.830927, -2.188087), Great Marsden which are provided by:


Probate Records

For probate purposes prior to 1858, Great Marsden was in the Archdeaconry of Chester, in the Diocese of Chester. The original Lancashire wills for the Archdeaconry of Chester are held at the Lancashire Record Office.



You can also see Family History Societies covering the nearby area, plotted on a map. This facility is being developed, and is awaiting societies to enter information about the places they cover.