On 08/12/2017, Tompkins, Matthew (Dr.) <***@leicester.ac.uk> wrote:
> From: Richard Carruthers
> Sent: 08 December 2017 00:46
>>> Actually, Paul (or Mr Bulkley, if you prefer), I am interested in lots
> of mediaeval people (and others) who are not gentlefolk. My Wiltshire
> CARTER ancestors from Purton were manorial serfs from nearby
> Malmesbury Abbey whose struggles to become and remain free are the
> subject of some coverage in a book I was fortunate enough to pick up
> at a local bazaar: "Medieval Village, Manor and Monastery", G. G.
> Coulton, 1960 paperback edition (originally Cambridge University
> Press, 1925), p. 486 ff. Appendix on "Freemen reduced to Bondage".
>>> That is because I am interested in all the families of people from
> Purton, Wiltshire, most of whom, from the high to the low, are related
> or connected to me somehow, sometimes in multiple ways I find, thanks
> to my mother's maternal grandfather, James LARGE (1835-1912), who was
> born in Lambourn, Berks., to parents of Purton stock for many
> generations. A search of the archives of this list will demonstrate
> that if you care to explore.
> How interesting, Richard. How far back have you been able to trace the
> Carters or any other Purton families back into the middle ages? Were you
> able to find them in any records of the manor of Purton? There don't seem
> to be any surviving court rolls from the principal manor of Purton, but the
> Manorial Documents Register lists some from a Purton Wootton manor from
> 1398-1449 (SC 2/209/48), and some other later records), and also rentals of
> the principal Purton manor from 1390-1391 and 1439-40 (TNA SC 12/1/1, fos.
> 13, 14, 17). And a rental of Purton Paynel and Purton Keynes manors from
> 1412-13 (SC 12/16/62).
> Here is a tiny piece of grist for your Purton mill which I came across
> recently while compiling a database of ordinary late medieval rural people
> and their material possessions: TNA E 357/7, rot. 13 and E 136/6/13, m. 9
> (the account of the escheator of Hants, Wilts, Oxon and Berks for Feb 1374
> - Feb 1375) records that 21s. were received by the exchequer for the value
> of the forfeited goods and chattels of two felons recently hanged in
> Wiltshire, John Drapere of Mere and Nicholas Sherman of Purton. Not
> ancestors of yours, I hope?
Thank you Matt. I discovered my Purton CARTER descent via my Purton
research. Later, reading Sir Anthony Wagner's "Pedigree and Progress",
I came across his tree of the Eton schoolmaster and Anglican clerical
family of CARTER founded by a member of the Purton family who became
agent to the Earl of Suffolk (if memory serves). An undergraduate at
Balliol at the time, Sir A.'s old college, I wrote to him at the
College of Arms, and received a reply indicating whence he had gained
his knowledge (a member of the Eton CARTER family).
More recently, in 2004, I visited an Eton CARTER in London, and saw
the massive tree compiled by some of his forebears taking the family
back to the Middle Ages in North Wilts. It was only by chance that I
discovered the servile origins of the tribe when I read Coulton. The
bondsman status of the family was left off the tree, possibly for
reasons one can well imagine, though times changing, they might be
prouder to lay claim to them now.
Certainly their inclusion would have made Sir Anthony's point even
So, in answer, I haven't obtained all the manorial records for Purton,
though I did manage to find some of them at TNA when I was last there
in 2007, and at WSRO in Trowbridge on its last ever public research
day in April 2007.
What I should really like to obtain are all the historic taxation
records with reference to names of the members of the local population
over the centuries along with the remaining manorial records in the
E-class collections of TNA. Alas, I am not well situated to do that
here in Vancouver.
>>> In my case, to adapt a phrase from my Anglican upbringing, I take more
> pleasure in one obscure person saved from the darkness of oblivion
> than from all the royal descents I may be able to discover.
> My point of view precisely - the ordinary people at the bottom of the
> social pyramid are much more interesting than the aristocratic parasites
> maintained by their labour and enterprise.
> Matt Tompkins
I am not quite on the same wavelength about the role of aristocrats,
being something of an old High Tory myself, despite the reputation of
my old college for spawning Marxist historians such as our old master,
What I meant was that I like to concentrate my research on attempts to
rescue the more obscure from undeserved perdition rather than simply
cursorily going over ground that so many have trodden en route from
the gentry through the nobility to royalty. That doesn't mean that I
don't occasionally look into some of them, but too often I find that
there is almost too much about them to come to grips with that subject
I was gratified on some level to find that I had royal descents via my
Wiltshire RICHMOND alias WEBB ancestry but, without doing all the work
on their ancestry myself, I cannot say that I relate very closely to
them on a personal level. Our late lamented colleague Leo van de Pas
had collected them all for me (and for everyone else) very nicely, but
I find that it is only through the process of researching an
individual and his or her connexions and doings painstakingly that
they begin to come alive to me.
This could happen with some rotten old (or good) king or princeling,
but more often than not someone has done that already.
I did take some genealogical pleasure for instance in discovering that
via my ERNLE descent from Constantine DARELL, of Collingbourne Abbas,
Wilts. (one of the Sessay DARELL family) that my forebear, Thomas
ERNLE (d. 1595), a rather obscure Wilts. gent., and founder of my
cadet branch of the family, was a 4th cousin of KING EDWARD VI. As
someone with somewhat High Church tendencies myself, I was gratified
to note the link to the original Book of Common Prayer, and to the
origins of what later became such a conflict within both the nation
and the ERNLE family itself a century later.
Meanwhile, I am happy to beaver away on somewhat humbler folk,
establishing the nice distinctions between the parish and county
gentry, decayed gentry, rich, poor, and middling yeomanry, husbandmen,
cottars, merchants, lower and higher clergy and all the great mass of
English folk at the local level, in an attempt to build up a better
picture of the wider Wiltshire (or wherever) community and its
genealogical (and other) ramifications.
Occasionally this leads me to happy discoveries of where the micro and
macro parts of national history intersect. I am still working on
aspects of the long term ties between the ERNLEs and the courtier
DUDLEYs, and court service in general by various members of the ERNLE
sib. Last year, I discovered the origins of Dorothy ERNLE a member of
the household of Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, and ties which lead
to Erasmian circles.
I am working on an article for the Society of Genealogists on that and
another ERNLE puzzle which involves errors in the published Glos.
POYNTZ and allied Hants. BULKELEY pedigree which I have managed to
sort out yielding a spouse for an ERNLE MP, and a better understanding
of his role as a feoffee for Glos. interests of my lord of Arundel in
the 15th century.
I particularly enjoy it when my research throws light on matters of
wider national interest, and I am a firm believer in the importance of
careful prosopographical genealogical research for solving some of the
puzzles underlying our national history. That may seem tritely
obvious, but I am sorry not to see more evidence in my day to day
reading of this list of a process which is probably taking place very
regularly in the studies and libraries of many a worthy scholar. It
would be wonderful for their to be something of a central
clearinghouse for genealogical and historical projects in general so
that one could have a better idea of what was going on across the
wider genealogical community. Theoretically, this list could serve as
just such a venue (as I expect I am not alone in imagining).
All the best,
(back to work!)