The story of our family...for my sons

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Great King Cnut

Cnut the Great (Old Norse: Knútr inn ríki; c. 985 or 995 – 12 November 1035), also known as Canute, was a king of Denmark, England, Norway and parts of Sweden. Though after the death of his heirs within a decade of his own and the Norman conquest of England in 1066, his legacy was largely lost to history, historian Norman F. Cantor has made the paradoxical statement that he was "the most effective king in Anglo-Saxon history".

Cnut was of Danish and Slavic descent. His father was Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark (which gave Cnut the patronym Sweynsson, Old Norse Sveinsson). Cnut's mother was the daughter of the first duke of the Polans, Mieszko I; her name may have been Świętosława (see: Sigrid Storråda), but the Oxford DNB article on Cnut states that her name is unknown.

As a prince of Denmark, Cnut won the throne of England in 1016 in the wake of centuries of Viking activity in northwestern Europe. His accession to the Danish throne in 1018 brought the crowns of England and Denmark together. Cnut held this power-base together by uniting Danes and Englishmen under cultural bonds of wealth and custom, rather than sheer brutality. After a decade of conflict with opponents in Scandinavia, Cnut claimed the crown of Norway in Trondheim in 1028. The Swedish city Sigtuna was held by Cnut.[9] He had coins struck which called him king there, but there is no narrative record of his occupation.

The kingship of England of course lent the Danes an important link to the maritime zone between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, where Cnut like his father before him had a strong interest and wielded much influence among the Gall-Ghaedhil.

Cnut's possession of England's dioceses and the continental Diocese of Denmark – with a claim laid upon it by the Holy Roman Empire's Archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen – was a source of great leverage within the Church, gaining notable concessions from Pope Benedict VIII, and his successor John XIX, such as one on the price of the pallium of his bishops. Cnut also gained concessions on the tolls his people had to pay on the way to Rome from other magnates of medieval Christendom, at the coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor. After his 1026 victory against Norway and Sweden, and on his way to Rome for this coronation, Cnut, in a letter written for the benefit of his subjects, stated himself "king of all England and Denmark and the Norwegians and of some of the Swedes".

Read more:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Appin Stewarts

The Appin Stewarts, also known as “The Loyal Clan”, is the West Highland branch of the royal surname Stewart, descend from Sir James Stewart of Perston, 4th son of Sir John Stewart of Bonkill, second son of Alexander, the 4th High Steward of Scotland. Sir James was the grandfather of John Stewart of Innermeath, who, through marriage to Isabell NicDougall (MacDougall) of Lorn, became the first Stewart Lord of Lorn. The Lordship of Lorn passed down for 2 more generations to Sir John Stewart, the third Stewart Lord of Lorn.

Appin is located in the West Highlands between Benderloch to the South and the Ballachulish Narrows to the North in modern day Argyll. Today the primary towns include Port Appin and Portnacroish. Both are scenic and are surrounded by forests and water. To the West are islands including the beautiful Isle of Lismore, home to the MacLeas and the Baron Buchull, keeper of the Buchull Mhòr (the crosier of St. Moluag). There are numerous sights of interest including Ardsheal's Cave, the Clach Ruric, Cnap a-Chaolais, Castle Stalker, Eilean Munde and Keil churchyard.

15th centuryIn 1403 a band of Highlanders, said to have been the Clan Stewart of Appin led by Alexander Stewart, the son of the Wolf of Badenoch murdered Sir Malcolm Drummond, chief of the Clan Drummond.

Tradition tell us that in 1445, while returning to his seat at Dunstaffnage Castle from the great cattle tryst at Crieff, Sir John met and fell in love with the daughter of MacLaren of Ardvech. Although married, he began an affair with his new love which one year later produced a son. He was christened Dugald and was to be the first Chief of the Stewarts of Appin. Sir John Stewart was born around 1410, putting him at about 35 when he met the woman that would become his second wife.

After the death of his first wife, Sir John waited, for reasons we are unaware of today, for 5 years until setting up the marriage between himself and Dugald's mother, but it may have had something to do with the politics of the day. In 1463, Sir John set a wedding date and sent for Dugald and his mother to come to Dunstaffnage. Unknown to Sir John, there was a plot to kill the Lord of Lorn. It is not fully known, but it is thought to have been set up by the Lord of the Isles who was in a power struggle with the King of Scots, and who saw it as being in his best interest to neutralize this powerful and loyal representative of the King in the west highlands. The other plotters, which some feel included Colin Campbell, Lord Argyll, Sir John's son-in-law, were primarily represented by Alan MacCoul, the illegitimate grandson of an earlier MacDougall Chief. As the lightly armed wedding party made its way from Dunstaffnage to the small chapel located approximately 180 yards from the castle walls, they were attacked by a superior force led by Alan MacCoul.

Although better armed, MacCoul's force was defeated, but not before mortally wounding Lord of Lorn. Sir John was rushed into the chapel and MacCoul and his henchmen ran into and occupied the deserted Dunstaffnage. With his last breath Sir John married Dugald's mother, legitimizing him and making him the de jure Lord of Lorn. After receiving the last rites, Sir John expired and a new chapter in west highland history was opened. Dugald gathered all the adherents of the Lord of Lorn and with the assistance of the MacLarens laid siege to Dunstaffnage, but to no avail. Unbeknownst to Dugald, Colin Campbell, Lord Argyll who seemed to have been involved in the plot, raised a group of MacFarlanes to aid MacCoul in his struggle against the de jure Lord of Lorn. MacCoul's men with the MacFarlanes met the men of Lorn and MacLaren in what was to be known as the battle of Leac a dotha. It was a fierce battle with both sides leaving the field with very heavy losses.

For the next few years Dugald, who had lost the title of Lord of Lorn through the treachery of his uncle Walter Stewart and the lord of Argyll, but had retained Appin and Lismore (great single malt scotch), consolidated his power and fortified the hunting lodge of Castle Stalker on the Cormant's Rock in Loch Laich (photo above). He also ensured that the Campbells were in no doubt about his displeasure over the loss of the Lordship of Lorn, by having the Campbell territory surrounding Appin regularly raided by the clan. Finally, in 1468, in a bid to finally destroy the power of Appin, Colin Campbell and Walter Stewart, the latter now recognized as the Lord of Lorn (but with no authority in Lorn), organized a massive raid against Dugald and his clan. Alan MacCoul was again involved and they met at what was to be known as the Battle of Stalc. Though losing many men, Dugald virtually destroyed the military strength of the MacFarlanes (a destruction from which they were never to recover) and personally killed Alan MacCoul, his father's murderer. The battle solidified Dugald's claim to Appin and the surrounding area, which was formally granted to him by King James III on the 14th of April 1470.

In 1497 some of the Clan MacLaren stole cattle from the Braes of Lochaber from the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch. The MacDonalds followed them and overtook them at a place called Glenurchy where a battle took place. The MacDonalds won and recovered their cattle. However the MacLarens then looked for assistance from Dugald Stuart of Appin. Another battle then took place where the MacLarens were now joined by the Stuarts against the MacDonalds. During the battle Dugald, the chief of the Clan Stewart of Appin and the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch chief were both killed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Clan Murray

The progenitor of this family was Feskin, who flourished in the twelfth century. While it has been claimed that he may have been a Pict, it is more likely that he was a Flemish knight, one of many of that bellicose and ruthless group of warlords who were employed by the Norman kings to pacify their new realm of England after the Conquest. David I, who had been brough up at the English court, sought to employ such men to help him hold the wilder parts of his kingdom, and he granted lands in West Lothian to Freskin. The ancient Pictish kingdom of Moray, in Gaelic, 'Moireabh', was also given to Freskin, to put an end the remnants of the old royal house.

In a series of politically astute moves, he and his sons inter-married with the house of Moray to consolidate their power. There seems little doubt that royal Pictish blood flowed in the veins of Freskin's descendents, and the lines descending of Freskin's are linked heralically by their use of three stars and the colours blue and silver in some fashion on their coats of arms. The Earls of Sutherland descend from what is thought to be Freskin's eldest son. In charters, Freskin's other descedents were designated 'de Moravia', and this, in Lowlands Scots, became 'Murray'.

The Murrays trace their heritage back to the twelfth century and take their name from the great province of Moray, once a local kingdom. It was during this time that the Flemish lords crossed the North Sea and established themselves in the Scottish realm. Among them was Freskin, son of Ollec. Either Freskin or his son William intermarried with the ancient royal house of Moray. The senior line of the Murrays took the surname of Sutherland and became Earls of Sutherland by 1235. Thereafter the chiefs of the Murrays were the Lords of Petty in Moray who also became Lords of Bothwell in Clydesdale before 1253. An heir of this line, Sir Andrew of Murray, was the brilliant young general who led the Scots in 1297 in their first uprising against the English conquerors. He was mortally wounded while winning his famous victory at Stirling Bridge.

His son, Sir Andrew Murray, 4th Lord of Bothwell, third Regent of Scotland, married Christian Bruce, a sister of King Robert the Bruce. He was captured at Roxburgh early in 1333 and was a prisoner in England at the time of the battle of Halidon Hill. He obtained his freedom in time to march to the relief of his wife, who was bravely defending Kildrummy Castle. Sir Andrew commenced with unabated spirit to struggle in the cause of independence and died in 1338. The last Murray Lord of Bothwell died in 1360 of the plague. The chiefship of the Murrays fell into doubt amongst the various scattered branches of the name--from Sutherland and Murray itself, through Perthshire and Stirlingshire to Annandale and the Borders. By the sixteenth century, the Murrays of Tullibardine in Strathearn had assumed the leadership of the Murrays. This was formally confirmed by Bands of Association in 1586 and 1589.

Lairds from all over Scotland recognized the supremacy of the line of Sir John Murray. Sir John became the 1st Earl of Tullibardine in 1606. Thus, the Tullibardine hegemony was firmly established among the Murrays; and the late George Iain Murray, 10th Duke of Atholl was also Marquis of Tullibardine as recognized in Lyon Register as Chief of the Murrays. The 2nd Earl of Tullibardine married Lady Dorothea Stewart, heiress of the Earls of Atholl in 1629 and Marquises from 1676. To their medieval peacock's head crest (motto-Praite), they added the mermaid (motto-Tout Pret), as Lords of Balquidder; and in the seventeenth century, they took the demi-savage holding a sword and a key commemorating the capture of the last Lord of the Isles by the 1st Stewart Earl of Atholl in 1475: hence the motto Furth, Fortune, and Fill the Fetters. (Go forth against your enemies, have good fortune, and return with hostages and booty).

John Stewart

John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl (born c. 1440 – 19 September 1512), also known as Sir John Stewart of Balveny, was a Scottish nobleman and ambassador to England (in 1484). He was the oldest child of Joan Beaufort, widowed Queen of James I of Scotland, and her second husband Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn.

When that king in 1450 finally overthrew the last Earl of Douglas, he found a fair Lady on his hands. This lady, known from her beauty as the Fair Maid of Galloway, was the heiress to all the great Douglas estates, and, as a child, had been married in succession by William, Earl of Douglas, whom James stabbed in Stirling Castle, and his brother, Earl James, who was overthrown at Arkinholme. While Earl James fled into exile in England, from which he was only to return to die a monk at Lindores, the king procured a divorce for his fair young wife, and married her to his own half-brother, John, son of Queen Joan and the Black Knight of Lorn. He conferred upon the pair the Douglas lordship of Balveny, and they became presently Earl and Countess of Atholl.

He was created Earl of Atholl in around 1457, the first Earl of the eighth creation of the title. He is believed to have had a hand in suppressing the rebellion of the Earl of Ross, the last of the Lords of the Isles. He was buried in Dunkeld Cathedral in Perthshire.

Another Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl, was the son of Alexander, High Steward of Scotland, and the ancestor of this West Highland clan. One of his descendants obtained the Lordship of Lorn through marriage to the heiress of Lorn. Sir John Stewart of Lorn was murdered at Dunstaffnage Castle about 1463, and his son Dougal became 1st chief of Appin. He unsuccessfully tried to recover the Lordship of Lorn.

The clan fought at the Battles of Flodden and Pinkie. At Pinkie the clan was led by Donald Stewart of Invernahyle, known as "Donald nam Ord". In 1645, they supported Montrose at the Battle of Inverlochy and in the same year also fought at Auldearn and Kilsyth. The chief of Appin was outlawed and his lands forfeited, but they were returned to him after the Restoration. The clan joined Viscount Dundee´s campaign in 1688/89 and supported the Jacobites in both Risings. After the Battle of Culloden, the banner of the Appin regiment was one of the few saved from destruction.

In 1765, the estate was sold by the 9th chief, who was succeeded in the chiefship by his cousin Duncan, 6th chief of Ardsheil, who became 10th chief of Appin in 1769. In 1782, he obtained the restoration of his confiscated paternal estate of Lorn.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gotland...thinking this might be our homeland

Remembering my childhood when my mother referred to Gotland as a place our family came from, and remembering a cast plaque she had of Gotland (upper left in photo), I'm thinking that this is probably where our pre-Iron Age relatives came from. They eventually became the Goths (Gutes)/Celts and moved south into Europe.

Gotland is a county, province, municipality and diocese of Sweden; it is Sweden's largest island and the largest island in the Baltic Sea. At 3,140 square kilometers in area, the region makes up less than one percent of Sweden's total land area. The region also includes the small islands of Fårö and Gotska Sandön to the north, and some tiny islands, including the Karlsö Islands (Lilla and Stora) to the west. The island of Gotland has an area of 2,994 km², the province has 3,183.7 km² (3,151 km² of land excluding the lakes and rivers). The population is 57,221 with about 22,200 living in Visby, the main town. The main sources of income to the island are tourism, agriculture and concrete production from locally mined limestone.

The island is the home of the Gutes (the tribal name of the Gotlandic people), and sites such as Ajvide show that it has been occupied since prehistory. Early on, Gotland became a commercial center and the town of Visby was the most important Hanseatic city in the Baltic Sea. In late medieval times, the island had twenty district courts (tings), each represented by its elected judge at the island-ting, called landsting. New laws were decided at the landsting, which also took other decisions regarding the island as a whole.

The Gutasaga contains legends of how the island was settled by Þieluar and populated by his descendants. It also tells that a third of the population had to emigrate and settle in southern Europe, a tradition associated with the migration of the Goths, whose name has the same origin as Gutes, the native name of the people of the island. It later tells that the Gutes voluntarily submitted to the king of Sweden and asserts that the submission was based on mutual agreement, and notes the duties and obligations of the Swedish King and Bishop in relationship to Gotland. It is therefore not only an effort to write down the history of Gotland, but also an effort to assert Gotland's independence from Sweden.

It gives Awair Strabain as the name of the man who arranged the mutually beneficial agreement with the king of Sweden; the event would have taken place before the end of the 9th century, when Wulfstan of Hedeby reported that the island was subject to the Swedes.

Then, after the land of the Burgundians, we had on our left the lands that have been called from the earliest times Blekingey, and Meore, and Eowland, and Gotland, all which territory is subject to the Sweons; and Weonodland was all the way on our right, as far as Weissel-mouth.

The region is considered by some historians to be the original homeland of the Goths.

The city of Visby and rest of the island were governed separately, and a civil war caused by conflicts between the German merchants in Visby and the peasants they traded with in the countryside had to be put down by King Magnus III of Sweden in 1288. In 1361, Valdemar Atterdag of Denmark invaded the island. The Victual Brothers occupied the island in 1394 to set up a stronghold as a headquarters of their own in Visby. At last, Gotland became a fiefdom of the Teutonic Knights, awarded to them on the condition that they expel the piratical Victual Brothers from their fortified sanctuary. An invading army of Teutonic Knights conquered the island in 1398, destroying Visby and driving the Victual Brothers from Gotland. In 1409 Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen of the Teutonic Knights guaranteed peace with the Kalmar Union of Scandinavia by selling the island of Gotland to Queen Margaret of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

The number of Arab dirhams discovered on the island of Gotland alone is astoundingly high. In the various hoards located around the island, there are more of these silver coins than at any other site in Western Eurasia. The total sum is almost as great as the number that has been unearthed in the entire Muslim world. These coins moved north through trade between Rus merchants and the Abbasid Caliphate, along the Silver-Fur Road, and the money made by Scandinavian merchants would help northern Europe, especially Viking Scandinavia and the Carolingian Empire, as major commercial centers for the next several centuries.

The Berezan' Runestone, discovered in 1905 in Ukraine, was made by a Varangian (Viking) trader named Grani in memory of his business partner Karl. It is assumed that they were from Gotland.

The authority of the landsting was successively eroded after the island was occupied by the Teutonic Order, then sold to Eric of Pomerania and after 1449 ruled by Danish governors. In late medieval times, the ting consisted of twelve representatives for the farmers, free-holders or tenants. Since the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645, the island has remained under Swedish rule.

The medieval town of Visby has been entered as a site of the UNESCO World heritage programme. An impressive feature of Visby is the fortress wall that surrounds the old city, dating from the time of the Hanseatic League.

The inhabitants of Gotland traditionally spoke their own language, known as Gutnish. Today however, they have adapted a dialect of Swedish that is known as "Gotländska". In the 13th century, a work containing the laws of the island, called "The Gotlandic law" (Gutalagen), was published in the ancient Gutnish language.

Gotland is famous for its 94 medieval churches,[12] most of which are restored and in active use. These churches exhibit two major styles of architecture: Romanesque and Gothic. The older churches were constructed in the Romanesque style from 1150–1250 AD. The newer churches were constructed in the Gothic architectural style that prevailed from about 1250-1400 AD. The oldest painting inside one of the churches on Gotland stretches as far back in time as the 12th century

The knotwork design subsequently named the "Valknut" (part of my runic tatoo on my left forearm) has the most attested historic instances on picture stones in Gotland, which include being on both the Stora Hammars I and the Tängelgårda stones. There are also thousands of mysterious grooves on the island that are suspected of having been used for archaeoastronomy.

The Long Ships, or Red Orm (original title: Röde Orm), a best-selling Swedish novel written by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson, contains a vivid description of Gotland in the Viking period. The story also mentions alot of our other relatives like Forkbeard and Bluetooth. A section of the book is devoted to a Viking ship setting out to Russia, stopping on its way at Gotland and engaging a pilot from the island who plays an important part in their voyage. Gotlanders of the Viking Era are depicted as city people, more sophisticated and cosmopolitan than other Scandinavians of their time, and proud of their knowledge and skills.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sir William of Cromwell, Lord Mayor of London Capell

Sir William Capell is the son of John Capell. He married Margaret Arundell, daughter of Sir John Arundell and Katherine Chideocke. He died in 1515. Sir William Capell held the office of Alderman of London. He held the office of Lord Mayor of London from 1503 to 1504. He was fined £1,600 by Empson and Dudley, King Henry VII's ministers, and objected to a second trumped-up fine of £2,000. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London until 1509. He held the office of Lord Mayor of London from 1509 to 1510.

When William Capel died in 1515 he left the manor to his widow, Margaret. She resided there until her own death in 1522, at which time it was inherited by their son, Sir Gyles Capel (1486-1556). A good friend of Henry VIII, he was chosen to select the English Knights for jousting against the French at the Field of Cloth of Gold in June 1520.

The Field of Cloth of Gold (French: Le Camp du Drap d'Or) is the name given to a place in Balinghem, between Guînes and Ardres, in France, near Calais. It was the site of a meeting that took place from 7 June to 24 June 1520, between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France. The meeting was arranged to increase the bond of friendship between the two kings following the Anglo-French treaty of 1514. The form "Field of Cloth of Gold" has been in general use in the English language since at least the 18th century. It would be the last meeting between an English or British monarch and a French one until Queen Victoria met with King Louis Philippe I, the last king to rule France, in 1843, excepting the meeting of James V of Scotland and Francis I of France merely sixteen years later.

In his will Sir Giles Capel directed, that his best helmet and his arming sword should be set over his "Funeralls" according to the device of the herald, and for nearly three hundred years the helmet hung on an iron bar over his altar shaped tomb in Rayne church. When the church was pulled down in 1840 all the Capel tombs were destroyed except the fine heraldic brass to Lady Katherine Capel, 1572.

The helmet was removed by the builder, William Parmenter of Bocking. It was found with another on a peg in his workshop by a Miss Courtauld, later Madame Arendrup.

She bought it and gave it to Baron de Cosson, the then greatest living authority on the history of arms and armour. It was exhibited in London and later acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of New York who sent a copy back to England.

Rayne Church: the tower was built by Sir William Capel, whose arms Appear in the brickwork near the foundation, on either side of the belfry door: the old church, supposed to have been built temp. Henry II. was once famous for an altar and chapel on the south aide, erected in honour of the Blessed Virgin: of the present structure the tower is by far the most ancient part: there are memorial windows, besides several mural monuments and a large brass, with arms to the Capel family: there were interred here Sir Giles Capel kt. ob.1556. a distinguished leader at the sieges of Terrouenne and Tourney, and the battle of Spars, all in 1513, and to his wife; Sir Edward Capel kt. oh. 1577 and his daughter Grace. ob. 1587; Sir Henry Capel kt. ob. 1588 and Katherine (Manners) his wife, daughter of Thomas, 1st Earl of Rutland K.G. ; Henry Capel esq. 1615 and Thomas, son of Sir Arthur Capel, 1621: there is also a brass with arms and inscription to Lady Manners, ob. 1572.

Monday, December 19, 2011

...just like in the movie "Elizabeth"

Maroitta Countess Direlton Halyburton, Lady Home (Hume), was a 16th-Century Scottish Noblewoman. She varied the spelling of her forename between Mariotta, Marion, and Mary. She is remembered for her Defence and Negotiation of The Surrender of The Castle of Hume after The Battle of Pinkie.

Mariotta was The Daughter of Patrick Earl Direlton Halyburton Of Dirleton Castle. She and her Sisters, Janet and Margaret, were Patrick Halyburton's heirs when he died in 1515. She Married: George Lord Home before 07 Apr 1529.

As The War of The Rough Wooing escalated, Regent Arran sent Soldiers and guns to help defend their Castle at Hume. The English defeated the Scottish army at Pinkie, near Musselburgh, on Saturday 10 Sep 1547. Alexander Home was taken prisoner, and George of Faldonside Ker was injured. While he lay wounded in Edinburgh, The English Army arrived at Hume on 20 September. Mariotta, herself, negotiated the Surrender of Hume Castle with the Earl of Somerset. Her instructions were brought to the castle by Somerset Herald and her sons, Andrew and John, agreed to surrender. The 78 Scottish soldiers within were allowed to leave, and Andrew handed the keys to the English Captain, Sir Edward Dudley.

George and there eldest son, Alexander, were taken to England, and to the Tower of London. Mariotta continued to write to the Earl of Somerset seeking a better solution for her own family and the border people. She complained that people in Scotland said she had given up Hume Castle for money, and marvelled, they thought she could keep the castle of Hume against the whole English army, while the whole Scottish nobility could not keep the field. Mariotta told the Earl that she dared not show her husband his letter and the pledges her people had made to England, and asked him to make new agreements that risked only their possessions, not their loyalty to Scotland.

Eventually Alexander was allowed back to Scotland, and soon on Boxing Day 1548, Hume Castle was taken from The English by a night raid. On 28 December Mariotta sent the news from Edinburgh to Mary of Guise, who had left Holyroodhouse for The New Year at Stirling Castle. By March 1549, Mariotta was back at Hume Castle with a garrison of French and Spanish troops. Now she wrote to Mary of Guise, the troops were disturbing the villagers because they would not pay for their groceries; Mariotta insisted Guise pay the soldiers so they would not trouble the poor folk of Hume. In another letter she advised Guise to maintain discipline amongst the soldiers at this crucial time for the Auld Alliance.

"Your grace maun be very scherp batht on the Franch men and on the Scottis men, or it will nocht be weill; yet ader (either) to do as aferis to tham or lat it be, they mecht never getin sa gud ane tym. Pardon me that writtis sa hamly to your grace for in gud feth it cumis of gud hart as [any] that loifis bath the honour of Scotland and Frans."

Mariotta's original letters to Somerset and Guise are kept in The National Library of Scotland and the Public Record Office at Kew. An English eyewitness, William Patten, described The Bloodless Siege after The Battle Of Pinkie and Mariotta's role. Jean de Beaugué, who later joined The French Army at The Siege Of Haddington, also gave an account of The Siege, which praises Lady Home's resolve and emphasises the role her fears for her Eldest Son may have played in the Negotiation.

Son of Thor...Ruthven Clan

The family traces its descent from Thor, who settled in Scotland during the reign of David I of Scotland. Thor was, by tradition son of Sweyn the Viking chief, who was the founder of the Clan Ruthven. The name Ruthven comes from the lands north of Loch Rannoch in Perthshire. In Gaelic these lands are called Ruadhainn. This name may be further related to its Viking roots, since there is an island on an inland fiord in Norway, called 'Roedven' (inland from the town of "Molde). The island has a stave church from around 1200 and the area has long had links to Scotland. The name of the island derives from the main farm on the island and refers to a river outlet from a ravine or gorge. The local pronunciation of the name of the island approximates with the Scottish pronunciation of "Ruthven" ("Rivven"). In 1488, Sir William Ruthven, 1st Lord Ruthven was created Lord Ruthven by summons to Parliament.

Anglo-Scottish Wars
During the Anglo-Scottish Wars Sir William Ruthven, 1st Lord Ruthven's eldest son William was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513, and so the title passed to his grandson: William Ruthven, 2nd Lord Ruthven served as am Extraordinary Lord of Session and Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland, and had three sons. The eldest of these was:

Murder of David Rizzio
Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven is celebrated as the principal perpetrator of the murder of David Rizzio, the Italian secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots. Patrick fled to England and died in 1566 after masterminding the murder of the queen's secretary.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Attila the Hun...50th Great Grandfather

It's another surprise to think that somewhere back in our Celtic/Gothic past that Attilas' daughter married into our family. I've also checked into the Chinese connection and find that we go back into the Han Dynasty. Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. He was leader of the Hunnic Empire, which stretched from the Ural River to the Rhine River and from the Danube River to the Baltic Sea. During his reign he was one of the most feared enemies of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. He crossed the Danube twice and plundered the Balkans, but was unable to take Constantinople. He also attempted to conquer Roman Gaul (modern France), crossing the Rhine in 451 and marching as far as Aurelianum (Orléans) before being defeated at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. Subsequently he invaded Italy, devastating the northern provinces, but was unable to take Rome. He planned for further campaigns against the Romans but died in 453.

Appearance and character

There is no surviving first-person account of Attila's appearance. There is, however, a possible second-hand source, provided by Jordanes, who cites a description given by Priscus. It suggests a person of Asian features.

Short of stature, with a broad chest and a large head; his eyes were small, his beard thin and sprinkled with grey; and he had a flat nose and tanned skin, showing evidence of his origin.

The origin of Attila's name is unclear. Pritsak considers it to mean "universal ruler" in a Turkic language related to Danube Bulgarian.[3] Maenchen-Helfen suggests an East Germanic origin and rejects a Turkic etymology: "Attila is formed from Gothic or Gepidic atta, "father", by means of the diminutive suffix -ila." He suggests that Pritsak's etymology is "ingenious but for many reasons unacceptable". However, he suggests that these names were "not the true names of the Hun princes and lords. What we have are Hunnic names in Germanic dress, modified to fit the Gothic tongue, or popular Gothic etymologies, or both. Mikkola thought Attila might go back to Turkish atlïg, "famous"; Poucha finds in it Tokharian atär, "hero." The first etymology is too farfetched to be taken seriously, the second is nonsense."

The name has many variants in modern languages: Atli and Atle in Norse, Attila/Atilla/Etele in Hungarian (all the three name variants are used in Hungary; Attila is the most popular variant), Etzel in German Nibelungenlied and Attila, Atila or Atilla in Turkish.

Attila "The Scourge of God" of the Huns (406 - 453)
50th great grandfather
Princess Ascama the Huns (440 - 527)
Daughter of Attila "The Scourge of God"
Elemund, King Gepidae (490 - 515)
Son of Princess Ascama
Ostragotha (Austrigusa) of the Gepidae (504 - )
Daughter of Elemund, King
Queen Argotta Arotta de Verona of the Ostrogoths (460 - 518)
Daughter of Ostragotha (Austrigusa) of the
Waudbert I DArdennes (475 - 535)
Son of Queen Argotta Arotta de Verona
Brunulphe De Cambrai (543 - 565)
Son of Waudbert I
Fredegonde Earlin
Daughter of Brunulphe
Clothaire II Meroving (584 - 629)
Son of Fredegonde
Dagobert I King Austrasia (602 - 639)
Son of Clothaire II
Princess Regintrude de Austrasia (631 - 670)
Daughter of Dagobert I King
Irmina Von Oeren (669 - 718)
Daughter of Princess Regintrude de
Bertrada Countess de Laon (695 - 783)
Daughter of Irmina
Bertrada, Empress of the Holy Roman Empire of Laon (720 - 783)
Daughter of Bertrada Countess
Charlemagne Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charles I (742 - 814)
Son of Bertrada, Empress of the Holy Roman Empire
Bertrada Von Aachen (775 - 826)
Daughter of Charlemagne Emperor of
Nithard De Ponthieu (795 - 823)
Son of Bertrada
Helgaud De Ponthieu (816 - 926)
Son of Nithard
Herlouin De Ponthieu (865 - 935)
Son of Helgaud
Guillaume I De Ponthieu (914 - 965)
Son of Herlouin
Godchilde De Ponthieu (944 - 1004)
Daughter of Guillaume I
Guillaume I de Alencon (963 - 1028)
Son of Godchilde
Guillaume De Alencon (995 - 1048)
Son of Guillaume I
William De La Ferte (1042 - 1076)
Son of Guillaume
Hamon Massey (1076 - 1140)
Son of William
Hamon Massey (1100 - 1140)
Son of Hamon
Hamon, Baron Dunham Massey (1129 - 1216)
Son of Hamon
Hamon IV Massey (1163 - 1250)
Son of Hamon, Baron Dunham
Hamon V Massey (1212 - 1278)
Son of Hamon IV
Hamon Massey (1242 - 1307)
Son of Hamon V
Isabella Massey (1280 - 1313)
Daughter of Hamon
Katherine Dutton (1300 - 1321)
Daughter of Isabella
Robert de Pulford (1322 - 1409)
Son of Katherine
Lady Joan de Pulford (1348 - 1380)
Daughter of Robert
Sir Thomas Grosvenor (1377 - 1429)
Son of Lady Joan
Sir Robert Grosvenor (1410 - 1464)
Son of Sir Thomas
Lady Anne Grosvenor (1435 - 1520)
Daughter of Sir Robert
Sir William VI De Stanley (1473 - 1529)
Son of Lady Anne
Thomas Stanley (1515 - 1538)
Son of Sir William VI
Peter Stanley (1539 - 1583)
Son of Thomas
John Stanley (1571 - 1619)
Son of Peter
Christopher Stanley (1603 - 1646)
Son of John
Martha U Stanley (1634 - 1665)
Daughter of Christopher
Ralph Blankenship (1662 - 1714)
Son of Martha U
John Buck Blankenship (1695 - 1754)
Son of Ralph
Hudson Blankenship (1729 - 1814)
Son of John Buck
Obedience Blankenship (1770 - 1849)
Daughter of Hudson
Samuel Cothren (1799 - 1868)
Son of Obedience
Benjamin Cothren (1833 - 1900)
Son of Samuel
Sarah Nettie Cothran (1867 - )
Daughter of Benjamin
Edna Iva Mahannah (1890 - 1949)
Daughter of Sarah Nettie
Dwight Stewart (1913 - 1989)
Son of Edna Iva
Ronald Richard (Stewart) Mason
Son of Dwight

Ardaric, King of the Ostrogoths

ARDARIC died around 460 was the most renowned king of the Gepids. He was famed for his loyalty and wisdom, one of the most trusted adherents of Attila the Hun, who prized him above all the other chieftans. Scholar give credit to the traditional claim that Attila's daughter was one of many wives of Ardaric, king of the Gepids. It is assumed that the 6th-century Gepid rulers descended from Ardaric and that some royal Gepids claimed descent from this marriage in particular, although details are unclear. After Attila's death, Ardaric led the rebellion against Attilas sons and routed them in the Battle of Nedao, thus ending the Huns' supremacy in Eastern Europe.

THE GEPIDS were an East Germanic Gothic (Celts) tribe most famous in history for defeating the Huns after the death of Arrila. The state of the Gepids was commonly known as Gepidia or Kingdom of the Gepids, whose territory is composed of parts of modern day Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and Serbia.

The Gepids were first mentioned around 260 CE when they participated with the Goths in an invasion in Dacia, where they were settled in Jordanes' time, the mid 6th century, The early origins are reported in Jordanes where their names derive from their later and slower migration from Scandinavia.

The first settlement of the Gepids were at the mouth of the Vistula River, which runs south to north from the Polish Carpathian mountains.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth of York (11 February 1466 – 11 February 1503) was Queen consort of England as spouse of King Henry VII from 1486 until 1503, and mother of King Henry VIII of England.

Elizabeth of York is the only English queen to have been a daughter, sister, niece and wife of English monarchs during her lifetime

She was born at Westminster, the eldest child of King Edward IV and his Queen consort, the former Elizabeth Woodville, Lady Grey.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lady of the Lake and Robin stuff

This is in addition to the other story I had on Richard de Vere.

Raymond de Vere, Count of Anjou, a.k.a. Rainfroi de Vere, b.c. 705, married, in 733, Melusine de Lusina. She was the daughter of Elinas, King of the Picts, b. c. 690, and Bruithina MacBrude, b. c. 700, and, thus, was a princess of the Southern Picts of Alba. Her totem tribal badge was the Dragon, hence the fairytale connotations. The Dragon Motif was depicted in 1200 AD. on the seal of Hugh de Vere, whilst the Blue Boar, a Druidic caste badge, was [n.b.] derived from the family of Raymond de Vere.

Their son was Count Maelo de Vere, b. c. 735, commander of Emperor Charlemagne's army. From Maelo's own marriage to Charlemagne's sister, Bertha Martel, sprang a succession of Earls of Genney. Maelo's brother was Roland, for whom "Song of Roland" was written.

In the Arthurian and Magdalene traditions of the Ladies of the Lake, Melusine was a fountain fey - an enchantress of the Underwood. Her fountain at Verrières en Forez was called Lusina - meaning Light-bringer - from which derived the name of the Royal House of Lusignan - the Crusader Kings of Jerusalem. The Fount of Melusine was said to be located deep within a thicket wood in Anjou. She was also known as Melusina, Melouziana de Scythes, Maelasanu, and The Dragon Princess.

Melusina, The Dragon Princess

In the 12th Century, Melusine's descendant, Robert de Vere, 3rd Earl of Oxford, and legal pretender to the Earldom of Huntingdon, was appointed as King Richard's steward of the forest lands of Fitzooth. As Lord of the Greenwood, and titular Herne of the Wild Hunt, he was a popular people's champion , and, as a result, he was outlawed for taking up arms against King John. It was he who, subsequently styled Robin Fitzooth, became the prototype for the popular tales of Robin Hood.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Knight Job

William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1146 – 14 May 1219), also called William the Marshal (Guillaume le Maréchal), was an Anglo Norman soldier and statesman. He has been described as the "greatest knight that ever lived" (Stephen Langton). He served five kings — Henry the Young King, Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, John and Henry III — and rose from obscurity to become a regent of England and one of the most powerful men in Europe. Before him, the hereditary title of "Lord Marshal" designated a sort of head of household security for the king of England; by the time he died, people throughout Europe (not just England) referred to him simply as "the Marshal".

In 1152, when William was probably about six years old, his father John Marshal switched sides in the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda. According to one chronicler, when King Stephen besieged Newbury Castle, Stephen used the young William as a hostage to ensure that John kept a promise to surrender the castle. John broke his word, and when Stephen ordered John to surrender immediately or watch as he hanged William in front of the castle, John replied that he go ahead, for "I still have the hammer and the anvil with which to forge still more and better sons!" Fortunately for the child, Stephen could not bring himself to hang young William.

As a younger son of a minor nobleman, William had no lands or fortune to inherit, and had to make his own way in life. As a youth he was sent to Normandy to serve in the household of William de Tancarville, where he began his training to become a knight. Through William de Tancarville, he then served in the household of his mother's brother, Patrick, Earl of Salisbury. In 1168 William's uncle was killed in an ambush by Guy of Lusignan. William was injured and captured in the same battle, but was ransomed by Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was apparently impressed by tales of his bravery. He had been knighted in 1167 and soon found he could make a good living out of winning tournaments. At that time tournaments were dangerous, often deadly, staged battles, not the jousting contests that would come later, and money and valuable prizes could be won by capturing and ransoming opponents. His record is legendary: he supposedly fought in 500 such bouts in his life and never lost once.

By 1170 his stature had risen so far that he was appointed tutor in chivalry for Henry the Young King, son of Henry II of England. The Young King's relations with his father were always fractious, and William stood by Henry during the Revolt of 1173–1174, during which he knighted the Young King. However, in 1182 William Marshal was accused of undue familiarity with Marguerite of France, the Young King's wife, and was exiled from court. He went to the court of Henry II that Christmas to ask for trial by combat to prove his innocence, but was refused. A few months later the Young King died, and on his deathbed he asked William to fulfil his vow of going on a Crusade. William did so, crusading in the Holy Land from 1183 to 1186; while there he vowed to be buried as a Knight Templar.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Theodoric the Great

Theodoric the Great was king of the Ostrogoths (471 – 526), ruler of Italy (493 – 526), regent of the Visigoths (511 – 526), and a viceroy of the Eastern Roman Empire. His Gothic name Þiudareiks translates into "people-king" or "ruler of the people".

A son of King Theodemir, an Amali nobleman, Theodoric was born in Pannonia, after his people had defeated the Huns at the Battle of Nedao. Growing up as a hostage in Constantinople, Theodoric received a privileged education, and succeeded his father as leader of the Pannonian Ostrogoths in 471 AD. Settling his people in lower Moesia, Theodoric came in conflict with Thracian Ostrogoths led by Theodoric Strabo, whom he eventually supplanted, uniting the peoples in 484.

Subsequently Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno gave him the title of Patrician and the office of Magister militum (master of the soldiers), and even appointed him as Consul. Trying in vain to achieve further aims, Theodoric frequently ravaged the imperial provinces, eventually threatening Constantinople itself. In 488, Emperor Zeno ordered Theodoric to overthrow the Scirian warlord Odoacer, who had established himself as King of Italy. After a victorious three-year long war, Theodoric killed Odoacer with his own hands, settled his people in Italy, around 100,000 to 200,000, and founded a Kingdom based in Ravenna. Although promoting sepration between the Arian Ostrogoths and the Roman population, Theodoric stressed the importance of racial harmony. Seeking to restore the glory of Ancient Rome, he ruled Italy in it's most peaceful and prosperous period since Valentinian, until his death in 526. Memories of his reign made him a hero of Germanic legend as Dietrich von Bern.

Granny's church

While working on a branch of the tree today I remembered that my grandmother Frieda Marie Suess was a member of the Moravian Church. I remember she used to travel a great distance to go to church out near Pasadena back in the 1950's. I've looked into the church and found that it had some very different views based on a matriarchal theology. Moravians' beliefs centered on a feminized Holy Spirit, the right of women to preach, sacralizing the sex act, and metaphorically re-gendering Jesus Christ. These teachings were perceived as threats to more mainstream Christian articles of faith. The first Moravian missionaries came to the United States in 1735, from their Herrnhut settlement in present-day Saxony, Germany. They came to minister to the scattered German immigrants and to the native Americans. They founded communities to serve as home bases for these missions. The missionary "messengers" were financially supported by the work of the "laborers" in these settlements.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Good King Wenceslas...a real Saint

Wenceslaus I, c. 907 – September 28, 935, or Wenceslas I, was the duke (kníže) of Bohemia from 921 until his assassination in 935, purportedly in a plot by his own brother, Boleslav the Cruel.

His martyrdom, and the popularity of several biographies, quickly gave rise to a cult-like following and reputation of superhuman goodness, resulting in his being elevated to Sainthood, posthumously declared king, and seen as the patron saint of the Czech state. He is even the subject of a Saint Stephen's Day (celebrated on December 26 in the West) Carol, written in 1853 that remains popular to this day, Good King Wenceslas.

His mother was also "sainted" and has a holiday too.

Saint Ludmila (c. 860 - September 15, 921) is a saint and martyr venerated by the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics. She was born in Mělník as daughter of a Slavic prince Slavibor. Saint Ludmila was the grandmother of Saint Wenceslaus, who is widely referred to as Good King Wenceslaus.

Ludmila was married to Bořivoj I of Bohemia, who was the first Christian Duke of Bohemia. The couple was converted to Christianity around 871.[1] Their efforts to convert Bohemia to Christianity were initially not well received, and they were driven from their country for a time by the pagans. Eventually the couple returned, and ruled for several years before retiring to Tetín, near Beroun.

The couple was succeeded by their son Spytihněv, who ruled for two years before he died. Spytihněv was succeeded by his brother Vratislav. When Vratislav died in 921, his eight year old son Wenceslas became the next ruler of Bohemia. It was mainly Ludmila who raised her grandson.

Wenceslaus' mother Drahomíra became jealous of Ludmila's influence over Wenceslaus. She had two noblemen murder Ludmila at Tetín, and part of Ludmila's story says that she was strangled with her veil. Initially Saint Ludmila was buried at St. Michael's at Tetín. Sometime before the year 1100 her remains were removed to the church of St. George at Prague, Czech Republic.

Saint Ludmila is venerated as a patroness of Bohemia. Her feast day is celebrated on September 16. She is considered to be a patron saint of Bohemia, converts, Czech Republic, duchesses, problems with in-laws, and widows. She was canonized shortly after her death.

Polish Princess

Sigrid the Haughty, also known as Sigrid Storråda, was a Nordic queen of contested historicity. She is generally held to be apocryphal in modern scholarship, see e.g. Birgitta Fritz.

She has been variously identified as Świętosława, Saum-Aesa, Gunnhilda, daughter of Mieszko I, sister to Bolesław I Chrobry, King of Poland.

She is a character who appears in many sagas and historical chronicles. It is unclear if she was a real person or a compound person (with several real women's lives and deeds attributed to one compound person). But there is no reliable evidence as to her existence as she is described in the Norse sagas, which were composed generations after the events they describe.

It is possible that some accounts confuse one Sigríð, second wife to King of Denmark, Sweyn Forkbeard, and the daughter of Toste, with Saum-Aesa (Świętosława) of Poland, his first wife; another Norse source gives her the name Gunhilda, but this was a Norse name (not a Polish name) and was thus given to her by a later author.

The character of Sigríð is claimed to have first married Eiríkr the Victorious (King Eiríkr VI Sigrsæll) of Sweden, and to have had one son by this marriage: King Óláf II Eiríksson of Sweden, also called Olof Skotkonung. After that, the character is supposed to have married Sweyn Forkbeard in 994 under her Scandinavian name, Sigrid Storråda, and the marriage bore five daughters, half-sisters of Danish princes Harald and Canute the Great.

One daughter, Astrid Margaritte was the second wife of Richard II of Normandy (married 1017) after his first wife Judith (mother of three daughters & three sons, one of whom was Robert I, father of King William I, the Conqueror). Astrid later married Ulf Jarl, son of Thorgils Spragalaeg (the last king of Danish Scania (Ohlmarks), died at Svold 1005), great-grandson of Harald Bluetooth, King of Denmark. They had two sons: Bjorn and Sweyn II of Denmark.

The most commonly-held understanding is that Harald and Canute brought back Świętosława from Poland after their stepmother Sigrid left upon the death of their father.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Americas First Family...the Mason's

Yes it's true, we have all the bases covered for being first in North America:

The first were the the sagas because our genes were there...

Henry Sinclair married Jean Haliburton and became the 1st Earl of Orkney. In 1393, Henry sent a Venetian admiral, Nicolo Zeno, to carry out a survey of Greenland, in preparation for their journey to the New World. Before embarking on what was considered a risky endeavor, Sinclair made provisions for transferring some of his lands to his brothers and eldest daughter. He then took to the sea with 12 vessels, Zeno navigating, and 200-300 fellow voyagers, made up of monks and fugitive Templars. They set foot on American soil on June 2, 1398.

Though Christopher Columbus (Colon) was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas (having been preceded by the Norse expedition led by Leif Ericson), Columbus' voyages led to the first lasting European contact with America, inaugurating a period of European exploration and colonization of foreign lands that lasted for several centuries. They had, therefore, an enormous impact in the historical development of the modern Western world. Columbus himself saw his accomplishments primarily in the light of the spreading of the Christian religion and deadly disease.

Tripping back 15 generations we come to Henry Hudson (c. 1560 – 1611?) an English sea explorer and navigator in the early 17th century. Hudson made two attempts on behalf of English merchants to find a prospective Northeast Passage to Cathay (today's China) via route above the Artic Circle. Hudson explored the region around modern New York metropolitan area while looking for a western route to Asia under the auspices of the Dutch East India Company. He explored the river which eventually was named for him, and laid thereby the foundation for Dutch colonization of the region.

John Howland (c. 1591 – February 23, 1672/3) was a passenger on the Mayflower. He was an indentured servant who accompanied the separatists, also called the Pilgrims, when they left England to settle in Plymouth, Massachusetts. John was one of the first ten men to set foot on Plymouth Rock. He signed the Mayflower Compact and helped found Plymouth Colony.

10 generations back from me, through my great grandmother on the Stewart side, Edna Iva Mahannah, we see 4 married couples all coming from England to the Virginia Colony (Jamestown area) and starting new lives as some of the first "Americans". At the same time we also had relatives going to The Massachusettes Bay Colony. Here are the 8 souls that made the voyage to Virginia: Thomas Wilkerson 1612 - 1698, Elizabeth Lydall 1613 - 1687, Joseph Royall 1600 - 1655, Katherine Banks 1627 - 1686, Thomas Elam 1598 - 1687, Mary Shirecliff 1616 - 1695, Thomas Perrin 1610 - 1689, Elizabeth Chalford 1614 - 1657's all his fault

Yes, Columbus is in the tree...shaking it hard won't drop that nut. See Cristóbal Baca for the connection.

Direct Descendants of Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus)
1 Cristóbal Colón, 1451 - 1506
+Philippa (Felipa) Moñiz Perestrella, 1455 - 1485*
2 Diego Colón (1st Duke of Veragua), 1474? - 1526
+María Toledo y Rojas,1499 - 1592
3 Juana Colón y Toledo, 1512 - 1592
+Captain of the Guard, Luis de la Cueva y Álvarez de Toledo, 1523
4 María de la Cueva y Colón, 1543 - 1600
+Carlos de Arellano, a Marshal of León, 1546 - 1580
5 Juana de la Cueva Toledo Colón, 1550 - 1573
+Francisco Pacheco y Coronado AKA, 1550 - 1572
6 Ana Ortiz Pacheco, 1563 - 1620
+Capitán Cristóbal Baca, 1567 - 1613
7 Alonso de Baca, 1589 - 1662
+(wife - Native American of Analio)
8 Capitán Cristóbal de Baca. 1635 - 1697
+Ana Moreno de Lara Trujillo, 1639 - 1693
9 Juana Francisca “la vieja” Baca, 1662 - 1718
+Francisco Xavier, 1655 - 1704 **
10 Miguel de San Juan de Luna, 1687 - 1732
+Ysa bel Montoya, 1695
11 Phelipe Luna, 1711 - 1790
+Bárbara Yturrieta, 1734 - 1829
12 José Manuel de Luna, 1767
+María Luisa García Jurado, 1776
13 Lorenzo de Luna, 1805 - 1865
+Marí a Bárbara Ortiz, 1811 - 1866
14 José de Luna, 1841 – 1929
+Juliana Chávez, 1848
15 María Ignacia Luna, 1863 -1930
+Jesús María Chávez

*Note: Philippa (Felipa) Moñiz Perestrella (b. 1455, d. ca 1485), daughter of Enrique Moñiz and Isabel de Costa, was born in Porto Santo, Madeira, Portugal, and died ca 1485. She married Christopher Columbus in 1479 in Lisbóa, Portugal, son of Domenico Colombo and Susanna Fontanarossa. Felipa Moñiz Perestrello: granddaughter of Gil Moñiz, knight companion to Prince Henry.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Welcome to the family Tommy

Finally found a family connection for a long time friend Thomas Quincy Byrne. Tommy's 14th great grandfather, Sir William, Earl of Castleton Murray is Aaron and Josh's 16th great grandfather! Tommy's heading down the path of the "royals" now with the addition of Tudors to his gene pool yesterday. I'm still looking for and have discovered that we also have Campbells, Erskines,Drummonds and Stewarts that are common...isn't life great! Welcome to our official family brother, uncle, father, son and holy goat.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Burned at the stake by Queen "Bloody Mary"

John Rogers went on to print the second complete English Bible in 1537. It was, however, the first English Bible translated from the original Biblical languages of Hebrew Greek. He printed it under the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew", (an assumed name that had actually been used by Tyndale at one time) as a considerable part of this Bible was the translation of Tyndale, whose writings had been condemned by the English authorities. It is a composite made up of Tyndale's Pentateuch and New Testament (1534-1535 edition) and Coverdale's Bible and some of Roger's own translation of the text. It remains known most commonly as the Matthew-Tyndale Bible. It went through a nearly identical second-edition printing in 1549.

John Rogers was born in 1500 in the parish of Aston, near Birmingham. He was a minister, Bible translator and commentator. John Rogers was the first English Protestant martyr to be executed by Mary I of England, a.k.a. “Queen Bloody Mary”. He was burned at the stake on February 4, 1555 at Smithfield.

Early Years of John Rogers
John Rogers, was educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge University, where he graduated with a B.A. in 1526. Six years later he was rector of Holy Trinity, Queenhithe, London, and in 1534 went to Antwerp as chaplain to the English merchants of the Company of the Merchant Adventurers. Here he met William Tyndale, under whose influence he abandoned the Roman Catholic faith. Rogers took a wife named Adriana, a native of Antwerp, who eventually bore him ten children.

John Rogers / Thomas Matthew and the 1537 Bible
After Tyndale's death Rogers pushed on with his predecessor's English version of the Old Testament, which he used as far as Second Chronicles, employing Myles Coverdale's translation of 1535 for the remainder and for the Apocrypha. The complete Bible was put out under the pseudonym of Thomas Matthew in 1537. John Rogers used the assumed name “Thomas Matthew” to avoid persecution and prosecution by the authorities who continued to forbid under penalty of death, the printing of the scriptures in the English language. As the work could obviously not be done safely in England, the Bible was printed in Paris and Antwerp by his wife Adriana's uncle, Sir Jacobus van Meteren.

John Rogers had little to do with the translation, but he contributed some valuable prefaces and marginal notes -- often cited as the first original English language commentary on the Bible. Rogers also contributed the Song of Manasses in the Apocrypha which he found in a French Bible printed in 1535. His work was largely used by those who prepared the Great Bible of1539-40, out of which in turn came the Bishops' Bible of 1568 and the Authorized Version of King James in 1611.

Read more:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Banner bearer for Sir William Wallace

During the Wars of Scottish Independence the Clan Scrymgeour were supporters of Sir William Wallace. They were confirmed as banner bearers by Sir William Wallace and Parliament on 29 March 1298. The document in which this is recorded is the only contemporary document to have survived in which the names of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce are mentioned together. At this time the chief of the clan was Alexander Scrymgeour he was later captured by the English and hanged in Newcastle in 1306 on the direct orders of King Edward I of England. He was succeeded by another Alexander Scrymgeour who rode as royal banner bearer when the clan fought at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

Large amounts of land came to the Scrymgeors at Glassary in Argyll in around 1370 with the marriage of Alexander Scrymgeour to Agnes, heiress to Gilbert Glassary.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Robert DeVere...Lord of the Greenwood

Robert DeVere, 3rd Earl of Oxford, was named Steward of the forest lands of Fitzooth for King Richard. He was also known as Lord of the Greenwood and Herne of the Wilde. Outlawed for taking up arms agains King John, he was subsequently styled as Robin Fitzooth and became the prototype for the popular tales of Robin Hood.

Friday, October 28, 2011

5,000 and counting...

Today I reached 5,000+ relatives on our family tree. I have learned so much about people and two favorite things. I love my family!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dymoke...Queens Champions


Did you know that the Queen still has a champion? The office of King's Champion or Queen's Champion (as the case may be), was first started in the reign of William the Conqueror. Sir John Dymoke was the first to exercise the office at the Coronation of Richard II, and the Dymoke family of Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire have continued to hold the office up to the present day.

Originally it was the champion's duty to ride, on a white charger, fully clad in armour, into Westminster Hall during the Coronation Ceremony. There he threw down his gauntlet and challenged any person who dared to deny the sovereign's right to the throne. The function was last exercised at George IV's coronation by Henry Dymoke (1801-65),

At the Coronation of the present Queen, a member of the Dymoke family was present, but he did not throw down a gauntlet or challenge anyone…instead he had the honour of carrying the Royal Standard in the Coronation procession. The role may have lost some of its original 'pazzaz' but he is still the 'Queen's Champion'.

Beheaded by Vikings

Sir Thomas Dymoke was made famous by being captured prior to the Battle of Stamford Bridge by another relative of ours ( King Harald Hardrada of Norway ) which took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire in England on 25 September 1066, between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian forces and the English king's brother Tostig Godwinson. After a horrific battle, both Hardrada and Tostig along with the majority of the Norwegians were killed.

Although Harold repelled the Norwegian invaders, his victory was short-lived: he was defeated and killed at Hastings less than three weeks later...beginning the Norman Conquest my more of our relatives. The battle has traditionally been presented as symbolising the end of the Viking Age, although in fact major Scandinavian campaigns in the British Isles occurred in the following decades, notably those of King Sweyn Estrithson of Denmark in 1069–70 and King Magnus Barefoot of Norway in 1098 and 1102–03.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

King of Wales

Owain Gwynedd (in English, "Owen") (c. 1100–November 28, 1170), alternatively known by the patronymic "Owain ap Gruffydd". He is occasionally referred to as Owain I of Gwynedd, or Owain I of Wales on account of his claim to be King of Wales. He is considered to be the most successful of all the north Welsh princes prior to his grandson, Llywelyn the Great. He was known as Owain Gwynedd to distinguish him from another contemporary Owain ap Gruffydd, ruler of part of Powys who was known as Owain Cyfeiliog. Owain Gwynedd was a member of the House of Aberffraw, a descendant of the senior branch from Rhodri Mawr.

Early life

Owain's father, Gruffydd ap Cynan, was a strong and long-lived ruler who had made the principality of Gwynedd the most influential in Wales during the sixty-two years of his reign, using the island of Anglesey as his power base. His mother, Angharad ferch Owain, was the daughter of Owain ab Edwin. Owain was the second of three sons of Gruffydd and Angharad.

Owain is thought to have been born on Anglesey about the year 1100. By about 1120 Gruffydd had grown too old to lead his forces in battle and Owain and his brothers Cadwallon and later Cadwaladr led the forces of Gwynedd against the Normans and against other Welsh princes with great success. His elder brother Cadwallon was killed in a battle against the forces of Powys in 1132, leaving Owain as his father's heir. Owain and Cadwaladr, in alliance with Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth, won a major victory over the Normans at Crug Mawr near Cardigan in 1136 and annexed Ceredigion to their father's realm.

Accession to the throne and early campaigns

On Gruffydd's death in 1137, therefore, Owain inherited a portion of a well-established kingdom, but had to share it with Cadwaladr. In 1143 Cadwaladr was implicated in the murder of Anarawd ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth, and Owain responded by sending his son Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd to strip him of his lands in the north of Ceredigion. Though Owain was later reconciled with Cadwaladr, from 1143, Owain ruled alone over most of north Wales. In 1155 Cadwaladr was driven into exile.

Owain took advantage of the civil war in England between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda to push Gwynedd's boundaries further east than ever before. In 1146 he captured the castle of Mold and about 1150 captured Rhuddlan and encroached on the borders of Powys. The prince of Powys, Madog ap Maredudd, with assistance from Earl Ranulf of Chester, gave battle at Coleshill, but Owain was victorious.

War with King Henry II

All went well until the accession of King Henry II of England in 1154. Henry invaded Gwynedd in 1157 with the support of Madog ap Maredudd of Powys and Owain's brother Cadwaladr. The invasion met with mixed fortunes. King Henry was nearly killed in a skirmish near Basingwerk and the fleet accompanying the invasion made a landing on Anglesey where it was defeated. Owain was however forced to come to terms with Henry, being obliged to surrender Rhuddlan and other conquests in the east.

Madog ap Maredudd died in 1160, enabling Owain to regain territory in the east. In 1163 he formed an alliance with Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth to challenge English rule. King Henry again invaded Gwynedd in 1165, but instead of taking the usual route along the northern coastal plain, the king's army invaded from Oswestry and took a route over the Berwyn hills. The invasion was met by an alliance of all the Welsh princes, with Owain as the undisputed leader. However there was little fighting, for the Welsh weather came to Owain's assistance as torrential rain forced Henry to retreat in disorder. The infuriated Henry mutilated a number of Welsh hostages, including two of Owain's sons.

Henry did not invade Gwynedd again and Owain was able to regain his eastern conquests, recapturing Rhuddlan castle in 1167 after a siege of three months.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Capt. Michael Pierce...Indian Fighter

Michael Pierce immigrated to the New World in the early 1640s from Higham, Kent, England to Scituate, in what later became Massachusetts. The ten year period from 1630 to 1640 is know as The Great Migration. During this period, 16,000 people, immigrated to the East Coast of North America.

Captain Michael Pierce was the brother of the famous Colonial sea captain, William Pierce, who helped settle Plymouth Colony. Captain Michael Pierce played a significant role in the Great Migration. Historical records show that this one sea captain crossed the Atlantic, bringing settlers and provisions to the New World more frequently than any other. He had homes in London, the Bahamas and Rhode Island. He played a central role in the government of the early colonies. He was killed at Providence, one of the Bahama Islands, in 1641.

There were actually four Pierce brothers who made their mark on the New World: John Pierce (the Patentee), Robert Pierce, Captain William Pierce, and Captain Michael Pierce. All were grandsons of Anteress Pierce, and sons of Azrika Pierce and his wife Martha.

Pierce Family Moves to Scituate. Michael and Persis Pierce's first child, a daughter, was born in 1645 and named Persis in honor of her mother. Unfortunately, their first child died in 1646 at one year of age. The new family settled first in Higham, but moved in 1676 to Scituate, where the Pierce family continued to reside for most of the next century. Scituate is located some 10 miles north of the original Plymouth colony. It was settled as early as 1628 by a group of men from Kent, England.

Michael Pierce resided on a beautiful plain near the north river and not far form Herring brook. He assisted in erecting the first saw-mill. The mill was the first one erected in the colony. It is believed that Samuel Woodworth (1784-1842) wrote the song, "The Old Oaken Bucket," concerning this river and mill in Scituate. Samuel Woodworth's grandfather, Benjamine Woodworth (another relative of ours), witnessed the signing of Captain Michael Pierce's will, on January 1675.

Unlike his famous brother, Captain William Pierce, Michael Pierce was not a sea captain. He attained the title, Captain, from the Colony court in 1669. Historical records show that he was first given the rank of Ensign under Captain Miles Standish, then later, in 1669, he was made Captain. These titles reflects his role as a leader in the local militia formed to protect the colony from the Indians.

Captain Michael Pierce's memory is well-documented in American history. He is honored for the brave manner in which he died in defense of his country. The exact manner in which he died is repeated in more than 20 books and letters detailing the military history of the King Phillip's War. This war took place between 1675 and 1676, and remains one of the bloodiest conflicts in American history. It was also a pivotal point in early American history. Although the English colonists were ultimately victorious over the Indians, it took the colonies over 100 years to recover from the economic and political catastrophy brought about by this conflict.

The battle in which Captain Michael Pierce lost his life is detailed in Drakes Indian Chronicles (pp. 220-222) as follows:
"Sunday the 26th of March, 1676, was sadly remarkable to us for the tidings of a very deplorable disaster brought into Boston about five o'clock that afternoon, by a post from Dedham, viz., that Captain Pierce of Scituate in Plymouth Colony, having intelligence in his garrison at Seaconicke, that a party of the enemy lay near Mr. Blackstorne's, went forth with sixty-three English and twenty of the Cape Indians (who had all along continued faithful, and joyned with them), and upon their march discovered rambling in an obscure woody place, four or five Indians, who, in getting away from us halted as if they had been lame or wounded. But our men had pursued them but a little way into the woods before they found them to be only decoys to draw them into their ambuscade; for on a sudden, they discovered about five hundred Indians, who in very good order, furiously attacked them, being as readily received by ours; so that the fight began to be very fierce and dubious, and our men had made the enemy begin to retreat, but so slowly that it scarce deserved the name, when a fresh company of about four hundred Indians came in; so that the English and their few Indian friends were quite surrounded and beset on every side. Yet they made a brave resistance for about two hours; during which time they did great execution upon their enemy, who they kept at a distance and themselves in order.

For Captain Pierce cast his sixty-three English and twenty Indians into a ring, and six fought back to back, and were double - double distance all in one ring, whilst the Indians were as thick as they could stand, thirty deep. Overpowered with whose numbers, the said Captain and fifty-five of his English and ten of their Indian friends were slain upon the place, which in such a cause and upon such disadvantages may certainly be titled "The Bed of Honor." However, they sold their worthy lives at a gallant rate, it being affirmed by those few that not without wonderful difficulty and many wounds made their escape, that the Indians lost as many fighting men in this engagement as were killed in the battle in the swamp near Narragansett, mentioned in our last letter, which were generally computed to be above three hundred." Monument in Scituate. Today, in Scituate, there is a Captain Michael Pierce Monument and a Captain Pierce Road.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nicholas Pierre Gouverneur

Nicholas Pierre Gouverneur immigrated to New Netherlands (New York) from France, married a girl from Holland and became active in the community. He helped the poor, and joined Jacob Liesler in a rebellion that divided New York (the poor vs. the rich). He was captured during the rebellion and sentenced to death. Escaping to Boston, then finally to Holland he eventually made it back to New York, and became a freeman and landowner of large tracts of land in Harlem and Brookland.

The Rebellion

Jacob Leisler (ca. 1640 – May 16, 1691) was a German-born American colonist. He helped create the Huguenot settlement of New Rochelle in 1688 and later served as the acting Lieutenant Governor of New York. Beginning in 1689, he led an insurrection dubbed Leisler's Rebellion in colonial New York, seizing control of the colony until he was captured and executed in New York City for treason against William and Mary.

Leisler was born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, in March 1640, the son of Calvinist French Reformed minister Jacob Victorian Leisler. He went to New Netherland (New York) in 1660 as a soldier in the service of the Dutch West India Company. Leaving the company's employ soon after his arrival, he engaged in the fur and tobacco trade, and became a comparatively wealthy man. He married Elsie Tymens, the widow of Pieter Cornelisz. van der Veen in 1663. While on a voyage to Europe in 1678 he was captured by Moorish pirates, and was compelled to pay a ransom of 2,050 pieces of eight to obtain his freedom. Previous to this voyage he engaged in a theological dispute with the Rev. Nicholas van Rensselaer in Albany, who had been appointed to the Reformed pulpit by James, Duke of York (later King James II). Leisler had also endeared himself to the common people by befriending a family of French Huguenots that had been landed on Manhattan island so destitute that a public tribunal had decided they should be sold into slavery in order to pay their ship-charges. Leisler prevented the sale by purchasing the freedom of the widowed mother and son before it could be held. Under Thomas Dongan's administration in 1683 he was appointed one of the judges, or “commissioners,” of the court of admiralty in New York, a justice of the peace for New York City and County, and a militia captain.

The English Revolution of 1688 divided the people of New York into two well-defined factions. In general, the small shopkeepers, small farmers, sailors, poor traders and artisans allied against the patroons (landholders), rich fur-traders, merchants, lawyers and crown officers. The former were led by Leisler, the latter by Peter Schuyler, Nicholas Bayard, Stephen Van Cortlandt, William Nicolls and other representatives of the aristocratic Hudson Valley families. The Leislerians claimed greater loyalty to the Protestant succession.

In 1688, Governor Dongan was succeeded by Lieutenant-Governor Francis Nicholson. In 1689, the military force of the city of New York consisted of a regiment of five companies, with Leisler as one of the company captains. He was popular with the men and was probably the only wealthy resident in the province who sympathized with the Dutch lower classes. At that time, much excitement prevailed among the latter, owing to the attempts of the Jacobite office-holders to retain power in spite of the revolution in England and the accession of William and Mary to the throne. When news of the imprisonment of Governor Sir Edmund Andros in Boston was received, the Leislerians took possession, on May 31, 1689, of Fort James (at the southern end of Manhattan Island), renamed it Fort William, and announced their determination to hold it until the arrival of a governor commissioned by the new sovereigns.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Revolutionary...Jose Antonio Navarro

José Antonio Navarro (February 27, 1795 – January 13, 1871) was a Texas statesman, revolutionary, politician, and merchant. The son of Ángel Navarro and Josefa María Ruiz y Pena, he was born into a distinguished noble family at San Antonio de Béxar in New Spain. (modern-day San Antonio, Texas). His uncle was José Francisco Ruiz and his brother-in-law was Juan Martín de Veramendi. Navarro County, Texas, is named in his honor.

Navarro was proficient in the laws of Mexico and Spain, although basically a self-educated man. A native Texan, he had a vision of the future of Texas like that of Stephen F. Austin, and a lasting friendship developed between the two. Working together, they would become the founding fathers of Texas.

An early proponent of Texas independence, he took part in the 1812-1813 Magee, Gutiérrez and Toledo resistance movements and later served as a leader in the Texas Revolution. Working with the empresarios of the period, he helped Stephen F. Austin obtain his contracts and would himself become a land commissioner for Dewitt's Colony and, soon after, the Béxar District. In 1825 Navarro would marry Margarita de la Garza and they would raise seven children. During the 1830s Navarro represented Texas both in the legislature of the state of Coahuila and Texas and in the federal Congress in Mexico City. Always a champion of democratic ideas, Navarro, collaborating with Austin, worked to pass legislation that would best benefit the people of Texas.

Navarro had been at the Convention for Texas Independence, when he received the somber news from Juan Seguin, of the Alamo's fall. With James Bowie (his nephew by marriage) now deceased, José Antonio would secure the release of the surviving Navarros, two women and a child, who were being held by the Mexicans at the Músquiz house. They would be removed to the Navarro family home. The surviving noncombatants thereby avoided the forthcoming humiliation from Santa Anna. He would be one of the original signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836.

In 1841, Navarro reluctantly participated in the failed Santa Fe Expedition of President Mirabeau B. Lamar, where he tried to persuade the residents of New Mexico to secede and join with Texas. He was put on trial, sentenced to death and imprisoned there for years. He was given the choice of freedom, but refused to renounce Texas and there remained a prisoner. He finally escaped with the help of sympathetic Mexican Army officials, sailing back to Texas.

In 1835, Navarro built the Celso-Navarro House, relocated to the Witte Museum in San Antonio, where it houses some administrative offices. José Antonio Navarro became a member of the Republic of Texas Congress from Bexar County, Texas. Attempting to keep a balance of power in Congress, he worked closely with Senator Juan Seguin to promote legislation that would also be favorable to the Tejano citizenry of Texas, who were quickly becoming the political minority . Education was one such priority, lobbying to bring academic institutions into the San Antonio area. In 1845 Navarro was instrumental in drafting the first state Constitution of Texas, ensuring future political rights for all peoples. He would support annexation of Texas to the United States. Elected to the Texas Senate, he served three terms, before retiring from politics in 1849.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

First Mayor of Chicago

William Butler Ogden (June 15, 1805 – August 3, 1877) was the first Mayor of Chicago.

Ogden was born in Walton, New York. When still a teenager, his father died and Ogden took over the family real estate business. He assisted Charles Butler, his brother-in-law, with business matters related to opening a new building for New York University, attending the law school for a brief period himself. In 1834, he was elected to the New York state legislature, where he helped build the Erie Canal.
Ogden designed the first swing bridge over the Chicago River and donated the land for Rush Medical Center.

Ogden was a leading promoter and investor in the Illinois and Michigan Canal, then switched his loyalty to railroads. Throughout his later life, Ogden was heavily involved in the building several railroads. "In 1847, Ogden announced a plan to build a railway out of Chicago, but no capital was forthcoming. Eastern investors were wary of Chicago's reputation for irrational boosterism, and Chicagoans did not want to divert traffic from their profitable canal works. So Ogden and his partner J. Young Scammon solicited subscriptions from the farmers and small businessmen whose land lay adjacent to the proposed rail. Farmer's wives used the money they earned from selling eggs to buy shares of stock on a monthly payment plan. By 1848, Ogden and Scammon had raised $350,000—enough to begin laying track. The Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was profitable from the start and eventually extended out to Wisconsin, bringing grain from the Great Plains into the city. As president of Union Pacific, Ogden extended the reach of Chicago's rail lines to the West coast."

In 1853, the Chicago Land Company, of which Ogden was a trustee, purchased land at a bend in the Chicago River and began to cut a channel, formally known as North Branch Canal, but also referred to as Ogden's Canal. The resulting island is now known as Goose Island.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Church of the Clan Stewart

Paisley Abbey was founded when Walter Fitzalan, the High Steward of Scotland, signed a charter at Fotheringay for the founding of a Cluniac monastery on land he owned in Renfrewshire, approximately seven miles from Glasgow. Thirteen monks came from Much Wenlock in Shropshire to set up the priory on the site of an old Celtic church founded by St. Mirin in the 6th century. In 1245, the priory was raised to the status of an Abbey, answerable only to the pope in Rome. The Abbey was dedicated to St. Mary, St. James, St. Mirin (the 'local' saint who had first brought Christianity to this part of Scotland in the sixth century) and St. Milburga (the 'local' saint of Wenlock). Under royal patronage, the Abbey became wealthy and influential and evidence exists of extensive trade between Paisley Abbey and commercial centres throughout Europe. The Abbey was also a centre of learning and it is believed that William Wallace, who played a prominent part in the Wars of Independence in the 13th century, was educated by Independence in the 13th century, was educated by the monks of Paisley Abbey. Much of the original building was destroyed by fire in 1307 and restored during the fourteenth century. The sixth High Steward, Walter, married Marjory Bruce, the daughter of the famous Scottish king Robert the Bruce (who had defeated an English army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314) in 1315. In the following year, Marjory died at the Abbey following a tragic riding accident nearby, but the baby in her womb was saved and he became King Robert II of Scotland, the first of the Stewart monarchs. For that reason, the Abbey claims to be the 'cradle of the Royal House of Stewart. Our present Queen is descended from him. In fact, the Abbey is the final resting place of six High Stewards of Scotland, Princess Marjory Bruce, the wives of King Robert II and King Robert III for whose tomb, Queen Victoria provided a canopy in 1888.