Baron Morley is an abeyant title in the Peerage of England. On 29 December 1299 William de Morley, lord of the manor of Morley Saint Botolph in Norfolk, was summoned to parliament and was thereby deemed to have become Baron Morley. At the death of the sixth baron in 1443, the barony was inherited by his daughter Alianore de Morley, the wife of Sir William Lovel, who was summoned to parliament as Baron Morley jure uxoris and died in 1476, shortly before her. It was then inherited by their son Henry Lovel, following whose death in 1489 it came to his sister Alice Lovel, who was married to Mr Parker. The title was thenceforward held by her descendants the Parker family until 1697, when on the death of the fifteenth baron without progeny, the barony fell into abeyance.
It can be no co-incidence that in 1815 John Parker, 2nd Baron Boringdon (1772–1840), of Saltram House in Devon, of the apparently unrelated Parker family which originated from humble origins in North Molton in Devon, on his elevation to the dignity of an earl in 1815, chose the title Earl of Morley, ostensibly referring to his recent purchase of the relatively minor manor of Morley (modern spelling Morleigh) in Devon, midway between Totnes and Kingsbridge. It had become common in the 19th. century for members of the post-mediaeval nobility when elevated further in the peerage to adopt defunct mediaeval titles which bore some ostensible link to the family, thus lending it an air of great antiquity. Such actions were often adopted in all innocence based on erroneous pedigrees produced by genealogists overly eager to please their patrons. An example is the Russell family, Dukes of Bedford, of which a younger son when himself elevated to the peerage adopted the title "Baron Russell of Kingston Russell", an ancient Dorset manor with which his family had in fact no connection.
Barons Morley (1299)
- William de Morley, 1st Baron Morley (d. c. 1302)
- Robert de Morley, 2nd Baron Morley (d. 1360)
- William de Morley, 3rd Baron Morley (1319–1379)
- Thomas de Morley, 4th Baron Morley (c. 1354–1416)
- Thomas de Morley, 5th Baron Morley (c. 1393–1435)
- Robert de Morley, 6th Baron Morley (1418–1443)
- Alianore Lovel, 7th Baroness Morley née de Morley (1442–1476)
- Sir William Lovel, 7th Baron Morley (d. 1476), Baron Morley in her right.
- Henry Lovel, 8th Baron Morley (1466–1489)
- Alice Parker, 9th Baroness Morley, née Lovel (c. 1467–1518)
- Henry Parker, 10th Baron Morley (c. 1486–1556)
- Henry Parker, 11th Baron Morley (1531/c. 1532–1577)
- Edward Parker, 12th Baron Morley (c. 1550–1618)
- William Parker, 13th Baron Morley (c. 1575–1622)
- Henry Parker, 14th Baron Morley (c. 1600–1655)
- Thomas Parker, 15th Baron Morley (c. 1636–1697) (abeyant 1697)
Sources↑Jump back a section
- 1810 Additions to Tristram Risdon's "Survey of Devon", p.386: "The manor of Morley did belong to John Shapleigh, Esq., who sold it to John Seale, of Mount Boon, Esq., from whom it was purchased by Lord Boringdon, the present proprietor"
- e.g. Wiffen, the librarian at Woburn of the Duke of Bedford, who produced a pedigree of the Russells containing a fabricated link to the mediaeval Russell family of Kingston Russell
- Scott-Thomson, Gladys,F.R.H.S. Two Centuries of Family History, London, 1930. (A study of the Bedford Russell early pedigree). Several similar mis-appropriations of lineages of ancient families are given in this work.