Thursday, 25 April 2013

A-Z 2013 'V' is for Villages

Parish Church of St. Mary and St. Peter, Weedon Lois, Northamptonshire
(Parish Church of St Mary and St Peter, Weedon Lois, Northamptonshire)

Hunting down my elusive forebears has seen me tramping through various cemeteries and churchyards, sometimes in large towns and cities, but more often in small and out-of-the-way villages.

So often, in British history, the 'village' has been the entire universe to some of our ancestors. Some lived and died without ever moving out of their bucolic environs.

A lot of these villages have amazing names - some small and mono-syllabic, others double-barrelled or hyphenated; often the smallest hamlets have the longest names!

Here in the English Midlands, near the meeting point of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire, we are surrounded by some of the quaintest of village names; for example: Bishop's Itchington, Leamington Hastings, Ashby St Ledgers, Claybrook Magna, Husbands Bosworth, Luddington-in-the-Brook, Yardley Gobion....old and curious names that have survived the generations.

Then there are the odd little ones: Crick, Hope, Leire, Aynho, Old, Griff - all tucked away in the gentle rolling countryside.

At least when my ancestors stayed put it made it easy to look for them - then some got the wanderlust and they were up, off and away!

We discovered a couple of hubby's ancestors were buried in the nearby village of Roade - odd, as the family all seemed to come from London. On further investigation, we discovered that this couple, man and wife, had set off from Roade at the start of their marriage and set up in the shoe trade in London. (We think he was a master shoemaker and Roade is in Northampton, a traditional site for the shoe industry.)

It seems they raised a fairly large and extended family in the London area, but then returned to their roots in their latter days, being buried with their own ancestors. I've pieced a line back (via their siblings) as far as 1592 - all back to that same village! And knowing how these family names changed their spelling over the years, I've made a tenuous (but so far unsatisfactorily proven) link back to the early 1400's!

Now hubby's just retired, I think we might pack a picnic and take ourselves off to Roade, for a tramp around the churchyard - to think his family are virtually on our doorstep!


  1. I love tramping through cemeteries and sifting through old papers! Great finds! Have a wonderful time! And a good idea to take your picnic.