From a clerical family (Samuel Harland, general secretary of the Commonwealth and Continental Church Society, was his father), Harland was educated at The Dragon School in Oxford and Haileybury. He then went to university at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, taking a law degree. After two years as a schoolmaster at Sunningdale School he studied for the priesthood at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and began his ministry as a curate in Melton Mowbray in 1960.
He was subsequently Vicar of three parishes in the diocese of Sheffield - Oughtibridge (1963–72), St Cuthbert at Fir Vale and Brightside (1972–75), then Rotherham (1975–79). In the last two posts he also served as Rural Dean of Ecclesfield and Archdeacon of Doncaster, and in 1967 he married Susan Hinman, with whom he had one son and three daughters. From 1979 to 1982 he served as Archdeacon of Doncaster (working closely with the bishop Stewart Cross) and chairman of that diocese's Youth Committee, arranging a youth pilgrimage to Iona.
He was elevated to the Episcopate as Bishop Suffragan of Lancaster in 1985, again under Cross (appointed Bishop of Blackburn from 1982). Translated to Carlisle four years later  and entering the House of Lords in 1996 (where he was part of the pro-fox hunting Middle Way Group), he retired in 2000 to live in Gargrave (near Skipton, North Yorkshire). In retirement he continued working as an Assistant Bishop within the Diocese of Bradford and in chaplaincy work in the Diocese of Europe, alongside being an active trustee of the Settle and Carlisle Railway Trust, until his death late in December 2008. His memorial service, conducted by the Dean of Carlisle took place on 8 February 2009 in Carlisle Cathedral.
- Daily Telegraph Obituary p 27 Issue no 47,772 (dated Tuesday, 6th January 2009)
- The Times, Tuesday, December 13, 1955; pg. 10; Issue 53402; col B Court Circular- President of Cambridge University Conservative Association
- Church web-site
- Debrett's People of Today: 1992, London, Debrett's) ISBN 1-870520-09-2
- Official Appointments and Notices - Bishops appointed The Times Wednesday 30 January 1985; pg. 14; Issue 62049; col B
- "Obituary". The Times (London). 20 January 2009.
- Crockford's Clerical Directory2008/2009 Lambeth, Church House Publishing ISBN 978-0-7151-1030-0
- Former city bishop dies at hospice, Wakefield Express, retrieved 28 December 2008.
- Daily Telegraph p 26 Issue no 47,801 (dated Monday 9th February 2009)
|Church of England titles|
Dennis Fountain Page
|Bishop of Lancaster
1985 – 1989
Henry David Halsey
|Bishop of Carlisle
1989 – 2000