The family Jollys of Mythop are a cadet line of one of the many ancient Lancastrian families whose roots in Lancaster go as far back as the fourteenth century.


Notable members of the Jolly line are: Major James Jolly (1600-1666) Provost-Marshal General of Lancashire and Quartermaster General in the Parliamentary Army of Sir Thomas Fairfax; Reverend Thomas Jolly (1629-1703), founder of Congregationalism (now United Reform Church); and Edward Jolly of Mythop (1664-1738), hero of the 1715 Preston Rebellion (Thornber 1837). Jollys have been a fixture in one form or another at the meetings of the Preston Guild for over four centuries, starting with William Joly and his son John in 1562. This was commemorated in 2001 with the allocation of an Honorary Burgessship of the Guild to a member of the family by the Right Worshipful Mayor of Preston.


By the start of the 1700’s, the Jollys of Mythop had become one of the most notable Fylde families, a minor gentry whose name and title , ‘The Masters of Mythop’, were  synonymic with the lush and verdant mosslands of Amounderness and the celebrated development of “the granary of Lancashire” (Guppy 1890; Clarke 1916,1917). The family has close ties with the Earls of Derby, the self styled “Kings of Lancashire”, throughout this period. From 1707, the family lived at Preese Hall and later on at Mythop.


The Hundred of Amounderness is centralised around the lowland district of western Lancashire established as the Fylde, and adjoins, to the south, by the Ribble – to the north by the Wyre. Amounderness acquired its name from the Norse warlord, Agmundr, who was defeated in battle at the Ribble Valley in 911.


During the notable Victorian antiquarian Henry Fishwick (1894) research on the Jolly family, he traced the Jolly family back to a Seth Joly, who resided in the south of the county during the reign of Edward VI (1547-53). He propositioned that Seth Joly was himself descended from the older historic family, Jolyes of Leke in Staffordshire. His contention supported by Clay (1895), but the supposition was based on a unsubstantiated, and since disproved heraldic claim made by Major James Jolly.


Notwithstanding, Maltby Verrill (1933), does refer to Lancastrian grant of 1429 mentioning one Nicholas Joly. It is known that Jolly Milne, on the River Douglas, has affiliations with the family going back to the 1340s.  Going back further, the family has been associated to the East Riding of Yorkshire where Geoffrey Jolif had been Preceptor of the Knight Templar Consistory at Faxfleet, one of the greatest in Northern England, during the 1290s. There are records in the Domesday book to indicate the family could have been prominent landholders in the pre-Conquest era, residing in the east of the county and possibly descended from Jólgeirr, an invading Viking chief.


DNA tests by the University of Arizona, however, consider this unlikely. The Jolly haplotype is indicative of Iberian Celt (2B) indicating likely genetic lineage with the ancient British tribesmen of the north western seaboard, the Setantii.
The Jolly family now reside in southern England, having let go of the last of its Lancashire estates in the late 1970s. The family burial grounds are still remaining at Kirkham and Weeton.The family are still in possession of numerous eighteenth century box pews, located at St Chad’s. The family charities that arose to help the poverty stricken, became defunct.



Further information

Thornber, W – The History of Blackpool and its Neighbourhood (1837; Blackpool and Fylde Historical Society reprint 1985)

Maltby Verrill, D – “The Huguenot Family of Joly”, Notes and Queries, Vol 164: p.13 (Jan-July 1933)

Clarke, A – Windmill Land (Dent: London 1916). More Windmill Land (Dent: London 1917)
Clay, JW, ed. –  Familiae Minorum Gentium, Vol III, pp. 1048 ff., Publications of the Harleian Society, Vol XXXIX (London 1895)
Fishwick, H, ed. – The Note-Book of the Rev Thomas Jolly, 1671-93, and an Account of the Jolly Family of Standish, Gorton and Altham (Chetham Society, Vol 33: 1894)
Guppy, HB – Homes of Family Names of Great Britain (Harrison & Sons: London 1890)

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