Holy Trinity Church, Churchover where my great great grandparents married in 1866


Sometime in the mid-1980s I became interested in tracing my family history.  I think this began when I found a letter on my grandfather's piano from a man in Oxford who said that his family owned an old portrait and a 300 year old leather pouch. The portrait was said to be of John Leatherland  who he believed to have been a diplomat in Constantinople during the 1780s. The leather pouch was inscribed with his name.  

My grandfather's surname was Leatherland and, as the surname is rare, the writer of the letter wondered whether we knew anything about this diplomat or whether he was our ancestor ? My grandfather had never heard of him, but a few years later I travelled to Oxford to meet the writer of the letter and to see the portrait which hung on his staircase. The story behind the portrait and wallet still remains unclear, but it inspired my interest in the family origins.

I then discovered that, in the late 1960s, my uncle (also John Leatherland) had traced much of our family history. In those days many parish registers were still held by vicars in dusty vicarage cupboards, and tracing your family tree was a slow and laborious process. My uncle's patient and thorough research paved the way for this website, and I still heavily rely on the information he gathered.

I was also lucky enough to work in Kingsway London two minutes walk from St Catherine's House where the civil registration (birth/marriage/death) indexes were kept. 


                                  All Saints Church, Yelvertoft where my ancestors were married and baptised in the early 18th century


If you are interested in my detailed family tree and learning more about my Leatherland and other ancestors, please have a look at  my website www.tribalpages.com/tribes/david4u which gives all the facts and figures. 


                 The Red Lion Inn, Kilsby 1887 : photo from Jean McLaughlin  www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/UckfieldphtgrsAG.htm

The Leatherland Name

Leatherland is a relatively rare surname.  The Office of National Statistics  database based on modern census records contains over one million different surnames.  In this database there are only 947 people with the surname Leatherland. The name is 6,915th  in the rank of surname popularity. Using the spelling Letherland gives a further 53 people and Litherland 1,286. Compare this with more common surnames. My own surname (Richards) produces 75,000 people. Johnson gives you 179,731.


The main source of the information before 1837 comes from parish registers.  I have relied partly on my uncle's research supplemented by the IGI and  various indexes especially Alan Clark and Marilyn Pontin's Northants Baptism/Marriage/Burial indexes www.northants-familytree.netI have also consulted some original parish register records for Warwickshire and carried out some research in the Northants, Warwicks and Leicestershire Record Offices.  I have examined a number of wills and marriage licence bonds and other documents found in the archives.

For anyone with ancestors in Northants, I would recommend Alan Clarke and Marilyn Ponting's thorough parish register indexes of the county. Browsing them is fascinating and throws up all sorts of interesting entries. For example, in their pre-1700 Marriage Index you will find the marriage of "Mr Peter Le Noir Un Trompette Des Gardes Du Roi"to Mary Watts of Northampton in Brixworth in 1683. The bridegroom's French name translates roughly as Black Peter a Trumpet of the Guards of the King !! Nothing to do with Leatherlands but there is no doubt an intriguing story behind this mysterious Frenchman (or perhaps the vicar was drunk ! )

The Northants Militia lists are an excellent source. I have also made some use of the National Archives indexes. 


                               Hollowell, Northants, home to Leatherland families for over 200 years

Iwas lucky enough to be able to find out much by talking to my grandfather, Charles Leatherland, and two great uncles, who all lived into their 90s. My Uncle, John Leatherland, who began the family history research sadly passed away in April 2018. 

I am not a Leatherland. The Leatherlands are my maternal family line. My grandfather, Charles Leatherland, was a major inspiriation in my life and my site www.charlesleatherland.info looks at his life and achievements.

If you have Leatherland ancestors - or indeed any links with or interest in the contents of this site - I would be pleased to hear from you.

David Richards

April 2009

Contact me : mailto:davidr4u@btinternet.com

Site last updated July 2018