Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Time Passes

In case anyone has noticed, I haven't added anything to this blog in quite a while. Each entry ended up taking more time than I had available. You know the result.

I make no promise, but I do expect to get back to this subject in a little while. You can always contact me as mjward at sign of the hidden hyphen knowledge dot com.

Michael Ward

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tenants at Grand Tew, Oxfordshire, 1428 and Earlier

More from the same volume of the IPM:

71. Oxford, Oxfordshire, Johhn Wilcotes, Esquire. Writ mandamus. Inq 28 Oct 1427. Manor of Great Tew:

Free tenants at Great Tew, current at time of inquisition:

Richard Purcell

John Hilton

Emma Charley

Agnes Barton

Thomas Newbrigg

Richard Bourman

John Hosier

Formerly held at Great Tew in demesne as of fee, previous to Wilcote’s sale of manor of Great Tew (which occurred “long before his death”) to

John Colles

William Chilton

Thomas Linger

Thomas Yerman

Clement Carter

William Warde

William Stokton

William Hendy

Henry Bassh

A Staffordshire Proof of Age, 4 February 1432

720. Pages 384-5 of Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem / 6-10 Henry VI / 1427-1432, Boydell Press / National Archives (of the United Kingdom). At Stafford, Staffordshire.

Robert Harecourt [Harcourt], son of Thomas Harecourt, Chevalier, deceased, needs to prove his age: that he is now of age, and the inheritance being held safely for him by his father's widow, and others, should be given him now. (For more on this Robert Harcourt, see, for example, Magna Carta Ancestry by Douglas C. Richardson, p. 408.)

These generally involve statements by locals that they know the year a person was born because they experienced some particular event at that same time, and they know the date of their own event. It seems that a preponderance of evidence of this sort is accepted as a proof.

I'm not sure yet what the qualifications are for these witnesses, beyond the ability to speak and the appearance that they are mentally competent.

Here I summarize:

1. Richard Nowell, aged 60 years and more: i.e. in 1432, he was at least 60, so was born about 1372;
* swears Robert Harecourt was born at Ellenhall, baptised in the church there, and was 21 years old on 20 September 1431.
* He knows this because his father, William Nowell, was buried in the church of Chebsey on that day, 20 September 1410.

Now: we know a birth and a death date, and a location for William and son Richard Nowell.

2. Roger Swyneshed, age 50 and more, married Alice his wife, still living.
* born 1382; married, perhaps circa 1402, Alice ______, both still alive in 1432.

3. William Warde, age 46 and more, carried a basin with ewer at the baptism.
* born 1386, and has some connection with Ellenhall and/or the church there and/or the Harcourt family.

4. Richard Ward, age 47 and more; at that time his son William Warde was confirmed by the bisop of coventry and Lichfield at Eccleshall.
* born 1385, has a son William who was confirmed by the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield at Eccleshall. William was thus probably seven (but could have been younger) in 1410.

5. John Feruxhalgh, age 45 and more, knows because his grange at Shallowford caught fire then.
* born 1387, lived nearby. I'm not sure what modern spelling of this name might be.

6. Humphrey Wetwode, age 50 and more, raised a new hall at [High or Bishop's] Offley.
* born 1382, lived at Offley.

7. Thomas Jerveys, age 51, was godfather to Thomas, son of Nicholas Jerveys, who was baptised at Eccleshall.
* Thomas, born 1381, is related (great-uncle) to Nicholas Jervey; Nicholas' son Thomas born 1410.

8. John Jerveys, age 60 and more, was at Ellenhall at the baptism, carrying a candle.
* born 1372, living at Ellenhall, perhaps connected to the Harcourt family or staff. Probably related to Nicholas and the two Thomas Jervyses, but not stated how; proximity suggests connection.

9. Richard Banastore, age 48 and more, had son John Banastore born and baptised at Gnosall.
* born 1384, son born 1410 in Gnosall.

10. William Preston, age 50 and more; his daughter Alice Preston married Richard Jurdan in the church of Stafford.
* born 1382; daughter Alice married in 1410 (quite young, it would seem) to Richard Jurdan

11. Roger Gawode, age 48 and more, was riding to Stafford when he fell from his horse and broke his arm.
* born 1384.

12. John Bedolf, age 57 and more, took seisin of a messuage in Eccleshall from Richard Bedolf, chaplain
* born 1375; bought houselot in 1410 from someone who may be related; Richard Bedolf may be at the hall or in the town church. His name would probably be spelled Biddulph today, and there are Biddulphs in the Eccleshall paris register for 1602.

Ellenhall, Eccleshall, Shallowford, the Offleys, Gnosall, and Chebsey are all very close to each other, and slightly to the west and north of Stafford.

Following up the Warde surnames above, I have no notes from these towns, though there were Ward families in Stafford, and Tillington nearby.

Example 001

From the Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem / 6-10 Henry VI / 1427-1432, Boydell Press / National Archives (of the United Kingdom):

451. [p235-6] John de Grey, Knight. IPM for Derbyshire, at Derby, 24 October 1430.

Jurors: (who seem to be from within a five-mile radius of Derby)

Thomas Waterhouse of Duffield

Robert Irland of Locko

Robert Cokfeld of Chaddesden

Robert Smalley of Alvaston

Ingram Fraunces of Horsley

Richard Kays of Kilburn

John Husse of Ayton [?]

John Tomlynson of ?Thurston or ?Thurlston

John Spencer of Alvaston

Thomas Bradshawe of Chellaston

John Crewker of Twyford

John Warde of Stenson

Aha! A Warde. Checking my notes file, I see that for Stenson (which is generally considered combined with Twyford), I have records of:

1. William Warde, in a Chancery case involving a lease in Chatsworth, Derbys., ca. 1538-1544 [ref. List and Index Society vol. 51]
2. John Ward, gentleman, an administration granted/regranted 1658/1660; PCC Wills/Adm., British Record Society, vol. 75

I don't have any useful references for Twyford. Nearby towns:

1. Willington:
a. Robert de la Warda witnessed a lease ca. 1217-32. [Ref. Jeayes, J. H. "Derbyshire Charters" (1906). Item 2574.] [This is probably the Big Cheese of that name, not a native of Willington.]
b. Dom. William de Warda witnessed sale [of land], about 1302. [op. cit. Item 2587.]

2. Codnor:
John de Grey held Codnor castle and manor of the King in chief as of the honor of Peverel, as a knight's fee. I haven't tracked the history of Codnor, but Jeayes also notes, for Codnor, that in 1359, Margaret le Warde, "nativa" and daughter of John le Warde, who was son of William le Warde, was granted land rights that her grandfather William had held, in Codnor. There were several other Wards noted in the region within a few miles of this area in this period, but not yet obvious links.


I have some further notes from Jeayes, of Nicholas le Warde of Bonsall, and his wife Alice, regarding a grant of lands in 1395 (Items 312-315; Nicholas was probably dead at this time). Bonsall is 15 or 20 miles north of Stenson, a bit of a jump. There's a Bonsall history project, with a list of tenants from 1415. No Wards among them.

Jeayes' book can now be read online at Google, an amazing experience. Just this book itself can give you lots of names for Derbyshire. Just imagine.

Who were all these people?

Silent, Now; Unknown; But They Were Our Ancestors

When we think of medieval genealogy we tend to think of descent from kings and nobles, generals, and (sometimes) religious leaders. That's because the records of these people survive better from the medieval era: They were more likely to show up in documents, and the documents were taken better care of. It's kind of like looking for lost keys in the street; you start over by the streetlight, where you can see better.

In a lot of places, though, and here I'm talking about Europe and the British Isles, there were plenty of documents that mentioned ordinary people making regular deals in their typical lives: leasing land, getting sentenced for some legal infraction, witnessing documents, paying taxes. A large percentage of these documents have vanished over the years. But not all.

I'm going to spend the rest of this blog talking about Britain and France, because my name is Ward. (There are some other kinds of names in my genealogy, but those will have to wait.)

Beginning about two hundred years ago the British government began sponsoring the reprinting and (in some cases, and most usefully) the translation of some of these documents. In the last hundred years there have been a very large number of books published containing data from government, religious, and private records of the period 1300 AD to 1700 AD. There have even been quite a few published with data from earlier times, but these are hard to make use of in genealogy – tracking names people used before they began to use consistent surnames is almost impossible unless the person is a widely documented historical figure.

By 1350 or so we can see families with a surname that follows from father to son, and occasionally we can find families that change their surname from one known name to another. And so we can start tracking the families.

There were millions of individuals living in this period, and I don't have enough time to write down all their names and tell you about them. I do have time to write about a few, and to give pointers to places where other people are described.

Maybe someone with lots of money and a desire to resolve the unknown ancestry of all that is ever to be knowable will some day do this. I see a large church, a big corporation, and a vast assortment of enthusiasts' groups out there as likely candidates for this. The government of the UK, and people studying medieval history, geography, prosopography, seem likely to continue to produce books and dissertations we can examine for this kind of information. Let's see what we can turn up.