At last, I'm back to my family history research. I'm still hanging with the Hendley family of Cranbrook in Kent and I'm still the 15th century. Henry VII is on the throne of England and that's okay with me (I bet you didn't expect me to write that) because he saw to it that the manufacturing of broadcloth became big business, so despite the fact he had just knocked the crown off my most favourite king, he did aid my ancestors along the road to wealth and success and of course my arrival in the world many many centuries later. So thank you for that at least, your majesty.
My ancestor's fortune was made in the aforementioned broadcloth industry and part of the manufacturing process the woven cloth was scoured in a trough of water and then dried, it was then rubbed over with Fullers Earth, a clay that was collected locally. This clay absorbed any greasy matter such as lanolin and oil. The finished product was usually sent to London to be sold and exported.
Did you know that the usage of this clay, in the making of woollen fabric, can be traced to ancient Mesopotamia where texts mention ‘white earth’ which was either gypsum or plaster, that was being delivered for the finishing of cloth? Pliny the Elder was writing of several types of ‘creta fullonia’ in the first century. The first reference to the fulling mill comes from Persia, and by the time of the late 11th century fulling mills were found around the world.
My ancestor's will mentions him owning a dye house but no fulling mill, however by the time of the death of his son, the family do own one.
I began looking into the lives of a new family, the Hendley's a couple of weeks ago and my research is coming along nicely. I've not put pen to paper yet, but the information I am gathering is proving very interesting.
I wrote about the Hendley families connection to the infamous Culpepper family last week and this week I have been looking into their connection with the family of Ashburnham, the last of which, Ellen Ashburnham, was my 14th great-grandmother.
Ashburnham Place, near Battle in Sussex, was the families ancestral home and where the main branch of the family settled from about the end of the 12th century until 1953. My ancestry does not run along this line but along that of a second son who held a number of important roles in Sussex and Surry at the beginning of the 16th century.
The aforementioned Ashburnham main branch descended via my ancestor's uncle, probably William Ashburnham, to a John (there were two of them) one of whom, was a faithful supporter of King Charles I. The letters below is thought to date from about 1642 and deals with Charles's planned escape from the clutches of the Parliamentarians.
"Now for myself be confident of my Constancy to the Church, for which upon debate I am dayly more & more confirmed for now I see clearly that the Presbiterians dis… & contradicts bouldly the consent of Fathers & the customes of the Catholike Church: & they hould that the Supreme Power is originally in the People to whom all Magistrats ought to account: As for my escaping from hence, I shall not attempt it but by the Queen’s advice alone or such as she shall trust to manage that business, concerning which now that I have declared my Opinion and showen my reasons (as I have fully done in former letters) I have now no impatience, for I shall not loose by my own silence which was the cheefe care I had in this.
Upon Saturday next I expect the London Propositions; for one of which I particularly desire advice they Demand not only the confirmation of their Counterfeit Great Seale, but also the making good of all the Acts which hath beene done by it: I know this is not to be granted (for you remember the great consequences that I tould you, in Oxford depended upon it) but how hansomly to evade it, there is the question: for this I desire the opinions of 351:385:386:387:389, if these thinke it expedient, of 357: with as much expedition as may be to. Give this enclosed to my Wyfe, & me a particular account of her healthe
Your most assured constant friend
If you look closely you will see that part of the letter is written in cipher, Charles’ didn't want his escape plans to fall into the wrong hands.
Exciting stuff, isn't it?
Let me introduce you to the chap whose image represents my fishermen ancestors.
He can be seen wearing his fisherman jumper and carrying a basket of freshly caught pilchards.
You can read his story here
The painting is the work of my very talented daughter, who is a Cornish based illustrator, she can be found here.
I have a family connection to King Richard III I wonder if you do too?
In 2015 Professor Kevin Schurer of the University of Leicester revealed a link between Benedict Cumberbatch and Richard III which makes them third cousins 16 times removed.
I too am related to the king being his sixth cousin 16 times removed.
My connection with the Plantagenet monarch is through King Henry III and this makes me even more distant than Mr Cumberbatch. It has been estimated that between one million and seventeen million people are related in some way to Richard III but as Dr Turi King from the University of Leicester points out we are all related to Richard, "it’s simply a matter of degree. What makes Cumberbatch different in this case" says Dr King, "is that how he is related to Richard is known." Cumberbatch is related to Richard III through Edward III, Henry III's great-grandson.
However distant, it is nonetheless, a connection, and that is why researching your family tree is such a rewarding hobby. Even if you don't find your royal ancestor you will certainly learn an awful lot of about history along the way.
Here is what I have learnt.
Also, here is a word of advice, don't be put off
Out & About and Family History Stuff.
- The Ancestors
- Bustaine of Braunton: Introduction
- Hendley of Coursehorne Kent >
- Hunt of Barnstaple Introduction >
- Lakeman of Mevagissey >
- Meavy Introduction >
- Mitchell of Crantock: An Introduction >
- Mohun of Dunster: Introduction >
- Scoboryo of St Columb Major >
Thomas Vaughan: An Introduction
- Smith of Barkby Introduction >
- Taylor Introduction >
- Tosny of Normandy >
- Toon of Leicestershire: Introduction >
- Underwood of Coleorton Introduction
- History Blog
- Wars of the Roses Blog
- History Bites
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