The Thorolds were Vikings, originally from Malmo in Southern Sweden. Some came over to England and settled in Eastern England whilst other members of the family moved further south and settled with many of their fellow Norsemen near Pont Audemer in Normandy. The name Thorold appears in the Domesday Book (1086) as Sheriff of Lincoln. Earlier that century, his sister, Godiva, married The Earl of Mercia and became famous for riding through the streets of Coventry in protest at the taxes her husband threatened to charge the people of the city. Hence the famous legend of Lady Godiva. The family have long been known for producing strong women and the name is used to this day.
Another Thorold was a churchman who came over from Normandy with William in 1066 and is believed to have organised the making of The Bayeux Tapestry. He is depicted in the tapestry, with his name. His last commission was to surpress Hereward the Wake who was operating a rear guard action in the Fens against the invading Normans. He was subsequently installed as Abbot of Peterborough, accompanied by a retinue of 171 armed knights.
As mentioned above, Richard Thorold acquired Marston Hall by marriage in 1380. Over the Centuries the Thorolds prospered with various businesses, including coal mines, and several became Members of Parliament. They acquired substantial tracks of land in Lincolnshire, amounting to about 25,000 acres at one point. Many fine houses were built in the area, including Cranwell which is now the RAF training college.
A more recent part of family history is that Ernest Thorold (who lived at Marston from 1928 until his death in 1941) was the Armed Forces Chaplain and also Chaplain to the King. In 1936, he was contacted by the Archbishop of Canterbury saying Edward VIII would telephone him shortly asking him to marry him and Mrs Simpson. The course of history may have been changed if he had replied in the affirmative...