Friday, January 27, 2012

Rural Deaneries

A "deanery" is defined as the office, jurisdiction, or official residence of a clerical dean. The dean is one who is the head, or who supervises one district of a diocese. This post list the names "...from parishes in the rural deaneries..." surrounding Sweeney Hall, Shropshire. This was recorded by the Leighton family as part of the returns of the "Clergy Defence Association" relating to "tithe-rent charges". Many of these parishes are connected to one another by my own JONES family. Understanding this connection helped me overcome several "brick walls" when I realized that many of the names [parishes and towns] were organizationally related. This helped explain why many of my JONES family seemed associated with these parishes. Initially, one would look as these geographic locations and wonder if there would be any connections between them!

Rural deaneries listed: 1) Oswestry, 2), Bangor-is-Coed, 3) Hay, 4) Llanrwst, 5) Llangollen, 6) St. Asaph, 7) Dyffryn Clwyd, 8) Holywell, 9) Denbigh, 10) Rhos, 11) Caedwen, 12) Caereinion, 13) Penllyn, 14) Edeirnion, 15) Wrexham, 16) Pool, 17) Mold, and 18) Llanfyllin.

List is taken from Shropshire Archives, Leighton (Sweeney), Catalogue Ref. 177, ref. 1060/319-488, undated. [file just before this is dated 1886]

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Maes Usswalt - Maserfield - Oswestry

Welsh names frequently have different meanings and origins. This adds to the difficulty in doing genealogy for those of us not familiar with the "landscape" surrounding such words. For example, the word Oswestry can mean a borough, a market town, a parish, a hundred, or a lordship. When the name Oswestry is given today, you automatically assume it is referring to the town located in the county of Salop. [ 17 miles N.W. from Shrewsbury, and 180 mile N.W. from London.] However, when listed in a historical document, it may mean any one of the items listed above. Thus, determining these distinctions may make the difference in shaking the correct family tree branches!

First called "Maes Usswalt" after Ussa, the son of Cunetha Wledic (Cunedda, known as Cunedda "The Lion".] , it became called Maserfield. This meaning "the field" of Ussa. On August 5, 642 AD, a battle was fought here between Penda [pagan king of Merica 632-654 AD], and Oswald [Christian king of Northumberland]. The story goes that Oswald was slain near a tree, and his body was divided, and fixed to three crosses. [ Derision of Christianity by a Pagan king!] The Welsh called it "Croes Oswald" and a monastery was formed coming to be called "Oswald's Cross" = Oswestry! It was annexed to the Kingdom of Mercia following Offa's Dyke, and a castle was built 1149 AD by Madog ap Meredydd. By this time "Oswestry" had become a "borough" [Norman influence], a "market town" [trade influence], a "parish" [Church influence], a "hundred" [state influence], and a "lordship" [monarch influence]! Thus, "The Lordship of Oswestry", was located as "The Hundred of Oswestry", in the "Parish of Oswestry", as a "borough" and "market town". The "Hundred of Oswestry" contain the townships of "Llan-forda", "Maesbury", "Middleton", and "Weston".

Wow! Who would have thought that the name Oswestry could have such a meaning?

A helpful reference is: A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, Vol. II, p. 458-460. [Originally published in four volumes, London, 1831.]

Monday, January 9, 2012

The "Y" of It!

The lineage of Tudor Trevor (JC-1) is given in great detail in Nicholas, Vol. I, pp. 354-356. It is recorded here that he (JC-1) took this name because he was born and nursed at Trefor. [b. ca. 900 AD] His title is given as "Lord of Hereford, Whittington, and both Maelors, and founder of the Tribe of the Marches"...[Nicholas, p. 354] The drawing to the right is my attempt to put this geographic area into some sort of visual picture. The small settlement of Trevor (Trefor) is just east of Llangollen in the valley of the Dee. The relationship to Wrexham and Oswestry is shown giving the picture of two large "Ys" connected. Whittington is just east of Oswestry. Offa's and Wat's dykes run right down the middle. Ruthin to the northwest is near Llanfair Dyffyn Clwyd [summer home called Llwyn-ynn], and Wrexham to the northeast is the location of the winter home also called Llwyn Onn. The River Dee flows just south of Trevor, and as discussed this was a strategic land bridge between the Serven and Dee. Chirk Castle played an important role in the control of this door way to north Wales. Oswestry was to feel the flames of wars for many generations... the why of it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Early English Records

Just as the "Welsh Rolls" were actually English records, much of what is used in researching the family tree in Wales are English records. The context and titles of these records are often very confusing to the genealogist (especially American) who has little background or exposure to their history. A "big picture" is frequently helpful to view things in historical context. The following is my attempt to put many of these "early" [starting 1086 AD] records into a historical framework. The framework is the name, date, and when the record(s) are generally initiated. These items are placed under the name of the English monarch who was responsible for their beginnings. This also gives a historial context to the records which can be helpful to the genealogist when a name like "Pipe Rolls" appears. So here goes.

William I 1066 AD reigned 21 yrs.
Domesday Book 1086-1087 AD

William II 1087 AD reigned 13 yrs.

Henry I 1100 AD reigned 35 yrs.
Pipe Rolls 1129-1130 AD [became continuous 1155-1832 AD]

Stephen 1135 AD reigned 19 yrs.

Henry II 1155 AD reigned 34 yrs.
Red Book of the Exchequer 1166 AD
The Black Book of the Exchequer 1166 AD
Feet of Fines 1182 AD [continued until 1834 AD]

Richard I 1189 AD reigned 16 yrs.
Curia Regis Rolls 1193 AD
Assize Rolls 1195 AD
Receipt Rolls 1196 AD [continued until 1782 AD]

John 1199 AD reigned 17 yrs.
Fine Rolls 1199 AD [continous 1216-1641 AD]
Chancery Records 1199 AD
Charter Rolls 1199-1516 AD
Liberate Rolls 1200-1436 AD
Patent Rolls 1201-1920 AD
Close Rolls 1204-1903 AD

Henry III 1216 AD reigned 56 yrs.
Memoranda Rolls 1217-1884 AD
Issue Rolls 1220-1797 AD
Inquisitions post mortem 1235-1660 AD
Curia Rege Rolls 1236 AD
Gascon Rolls 1253-1467 AD
The Wardrobe 1257 AD

Edward I 1272 AD reigned 35 yrs.
Hundred Rolls 1273-1279 AD [The JONES surname first appears here!]
Scutage Rolls 1277 AD
Feudal Aids (taxes) 1284-1431 AD
Scotch Rolls 1290-1515 AD

The Welsh Rolls begin under Edward I.

So there you have a chronolgy of English records that will have some dealings with Wales, that is before Wales became under English jurisdiction. Certainly John [1199-1216 AD] had his hands full. The Magna Carta had its roots here! Please make any corrections to the dates listed above if found to be in error.