Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Correcting Historical Facts

When researching family history you sometimes come across information that you feel is not right, and where ever you look you see that this fact is repeated time after time. In the case of genealogy, this can lead you down the wrong path and causes you to research a family that has nothing to do with you. An incorrect fact can also have an effect on history itself, you only have to look at Richard III's story to know that.

While researching the life of Thomas Vaughan who was Chamberlain to Edward (the eldest of the Princes in the Tower) I came to the conclusion that history had confused Vaughan with other Welsh men of that name for there were at least three with the exact same name living at the same time, one of the three is Thomas Vaughan, who was son of Roger Vaughan and Margaret, daughter of James Tuchet, Baron Audley, the widow of Richard Grey, Lord Powis. This is easily done and quite understandable.

When I was working on the chapter of my blog The Children of Thomas Vaughan I felt that I should put the record straight and do my little bit towards correcting history.

One place who had attached Thomas Vaughan to the wrong family was Westminster Abbey (where Vaughan is buried) their website stated that he was of the family of Vaughan of Tretower in Wales, my research proved otherwise. After being in contact with the archivist at the abbey we talked about our sources of information. After a few emails, they agreed with me and changed Thomas Vaughan's page to read that he was the son of Robert Vaughan of Monmouth and his wife Margaret and not of the Tretower Vaughans.

You can access this page here

I must say I feel quite proud of my achievement, it was only a small thing I know, but at least I had some say in making sure that information presented about Thomas Vaughan is correct.
You can also read about Thomas Vaughan's family here.

Sir John Hussey

On the 15th May in 1537, Sir John Hussey of Sleaford in Lincolnshire and his cousin Thomas Darcy were tried for treason at Westminster after being implicated in the Pilgrimage of Grace.

Despite denying being a part of the rebellion, Hussey was accused of

      'conspiring to change laws and depose the king, and that he abetted those who made war on the king in October 1536'

Hussey's links with Darcy stem from their Lincolnshire roots, but it was his association with his cousin and the risings in Yorkshire plus his suspected Catholic sympathies, (the Catholic accusations made against him were based on the fact that both Hussey and his wife, Anne Grey had attended Henry VIII's daughter Mary) that made the case against him, therefore he was guilty by association and his failure to put down a rebellion that threatened Henry.

My blog continues on my website at


Saturday, 12 May 2018

Execution of Thomas Wentworth

Many issues dominated parliament during the reign of Charles I but it would be religion that would prove to be the most divisive issue that both Charles and Parliament would have to deal with.
At the end of 1640, Charles had recalled the Long Parliament whose members had used this opportunity to attack men they considered enemies of the Crown, namely Thomas Wentworth and Archbishop William Laud.

Wentworth and Laud were seen as the embodiment of all that was wrong with England at this time. It was on this day in 1641 that Wentworth was executed, Laud would follow him to the scaffold four years later.
You can read a little bit more on England at this time on my website at

Friday, 11 May 2018

Bishop Remigius de Fecamp

I have always held and am prepared against all evidence to maintain that the cathedral of Lincoln is out and the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have.-- John Ruskin

In the late spring of 1092, after twenty years of building work, Bishop of Lincoln Remigius de Fecamp's cathedral was completed. 
Remigius de Fecamp was a Benedictine monk who held the position of almoner at Fecamp Abbey in Normandy. He is said to have been a supporter of the Conqueror's invasion of England contributing a ship and twenty knights to William's cause, his name appears on a document that listed vessels used in the invasion. 

My blog on Remigius de Fecamp continues on my website at

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Smith of Leicester: Susanna Smith

Who was Susanna Smith? I know that she was my 6th great grandmother, but her name, the date of her marriage and her death are all I know. By looking at the village in which she lived and the era that she lived in I think I found an answer.

It is in the small village of Barkby, that lies just south of Syston and four miles south-east of Leicester, that we first meet Susanna Smith. Susanna is the last of my Smith ancestors, where she came from, who her parents were and where they lived, is at present, a mystery.

 If you take a stroll through Barkby today and take away the cars, the telegraph poles and satellite dishes you will find it much as it was centuries ago, you will still see the village's babbling brook, brick footbridge, framework knitters cottages, and it local public house (parts of which date back to 1245.) Susanna first appears here (in records at least) in the early part of the 18th century, as a single woman alone in the village with no family.

The story of my last Smith ancestor continues on my website

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Smith of Leicester - A Family History

Are you named Smith, do you come from Leicester? If so you may be interested in my latest blog on my website, the introduction to this family - the enclosure and the Industrial Revolution would affect my ancestors.

The County of Leicestershire covers an area of eight hundred and thirty two miles and is divided into eight districts, including the City of Leicester, which sits at its centre. Leicestershire has long been associated with farming, engineering and textiles. It was agriculturist Robert Bakewell who farmed just outside Loughborough, who was cited by Darwin in his Origin of the Species for his work in selective breeding. In John Taylor's Loughborough Bell Foundry, Great Paul, Britain's largest cast bell, that now resides in St Paul's Cathedral, was made. The stocking frame invented by William Lee in 1589 would appear in Leicestershire homes at the very beginning of the 17th century. This stocking frame would create employment in the county right up to the present day - interestingly, at the time of writing the textile company Wolsey, established in Leicester in 1755 and one of the oldest existing textile companies in the world, closed it factory.  

The district of Charnwood is an area that lies to the north of Leicester, it takes its name from the Charnwood Forest. It is the home of coal mines and the aforementioned stocking frame industry, and it is in this one district that a quarter of my paternal ancestors originated. The villages in which my ancestors lived surround the forest. Lying on the forest’s north-west side are the mining communities of Thringstone, Whitwick, Colorton and Swannington, to the north-east are the towns that are associated with the framework knitting industry that of Loughborough, Syston and Wymeswold. Just over thirteen miles to the south-west lies Hinckley (a separate district that is combined with Bosworth) that too is associated with textiles.

My story continues on my website 


Friday, 14 July 2017

The Manor of Meavy, Devon.

Beginnings of a New Era

Compared to the size of the manor houses of the Tudor period, the 13th century manor house of William and Gilda Meavy was quite small, a farm house really, but a good example of what money could buy within the social group the Meavy’s belonged.  Meavy house had its new great parlour, the next step up from their Anglo-Saxon great hall, that was still the focus of the family's daily life. It was in this period great that halls began to develop in every kind of residence, from the likes of the Meavy’s home, to the merchant houses and the castles of their lords. Interestingly, the great hall has continued to be an important part of the English home,  today we often refer to an old manor house as a hall, even the area that joins our entrance to the rest of the rooms within our own homes is called a hall. The Meavy’s home would grow and increase in size as the years passed, but still a smaller version of the manor houses of the those who were wealthier and who had been rewarded for deeds done on behalf the the crown. The size of the house would reflect this, a way of impressing your importance on other members of the nobility; the grander the manor the more self-important a lord would feel. The growth of the manor house can be seen up and down the country, Charnney Manor house in Oxfordshire, Stokesay Castle in Shropshire and Ingtham Mote in Kent are all  fine examples of the progression the the manor house, and as each successive generation took up residence the bigger the house became. As a family, the Meavy’s would reach their peak in the reign of Richard II, the family home however would continue to be improved until the reign of Elizabeth I.

The story of my Meavy ancestors continues on my website