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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Pye in PyePlate Part 2

Now to carry on with the de la Mare name which evolved into de Kilpeck sometime during the 12th century, I return to the person named as ‘grandson’ of William FitzNorman de La Mare, in many documents. At this point, I must point out an error. Many of the earlier records show statements that refer to Hugh as being the “grandson of” William FitzNorman de la Mare. I believe this to be an error but really can’t prove it. My own records place Hugh firmly in the position of “son” not “grandson.” For the purpose of this on going saga, I would like to put Hugh in the position of “son” and continue from there. Some records do indicate that William did have a “grandson” named Hugh as well, which I’m sure has led to the confusion. However there are some significant dates and times lines which show William had a son named Hugh. I might as well clear up another inaccuracy while I’m on a roll. This same Hugh de la Mare, son of William FitzNorman de la Mare has, for a long time, had a ‘prove or disprove’ item inserted with his name. The note said he had married Meirig ap Gruffydd. I have often wondered about this. Was it a careless notation using the ‘son of’ designation or was this just plain wrong? In The Welsh Kings: Warriors, Warlords and Princes, by Kari Maund, it became apparent that Meirig (there are various spellings) was a man and was not married to Hugh de Kilpeck. This Hugh had children, but now there is no spousal name associated with him.

This man named Hugh de Kilpeck and his family had lived along the Welsh border for quite a number of years. Assimilation had occurred amongst the border people. Customs had been shared, names blended, families married and a host of other traditions became the norm for the people of the area. One custom was naming the children of the family using some form of ‘son of’ or ‘daughter of.’ In the Welsh tradition, the son of Owen was called John ab Owen. This eventually became the surname Bowen. Another example would be the son of Rhys (Rice, who would have been called Henry ap Rhys, which later became Price.  Daughters were referred to by ferch or verch, meaning daughter of. Since they usually married, their names didn’t have the same impact in changing the sound or spelling of surnames. Another example is William FitzNorman de la Mare. In this case, the Norman tradition of using Fitz (son of and being a corruption of the French word fils, also meaning son of) show that William is the son of Norman. We think of FitzGerald being Irish, but its roots are in Norman antiquity. A study of Patronymics shows a great diversity among the Gaelic speaking people of the time in how they designated ‘son of’ and daughter of.’
So following the Welsh tradition, male children of Hugh were called ap Hugh.

Various spellings of this have been found such as Apee (say Apay), Opie, Pie and possibly Pugh. In some locations, this eventually became the name Pye. It was with Hugh that the name change began and some traces of his children, listed as ap Hugh, can be found. But, in general, he was known as Hugh de Kilpeck. The use of two surnames confuses the lines when researching, but awareness of it helps to lighten things up.

It was this Hugh who went on the First Crusade and when he returned he commissioned the building of the Church of SS. Mary and David.. Nothing can be proved but it appears he may have employed the same builder who had erected a church in Shobdon, which is now in ruins. Oliver de Merlimond, the steward to the Lord of Wigmore, Hugh de Mortimer, had been on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostello in Spain. When he returned, he built the church at Shobdon in the style he had seen in southern France. The church at Kilpeck reflects this influence.

Some church histories on Kilpeck say that Hugh de Kilpeck was a kinsman of Hugh de Mortimer. It is possible that de Kilpeck was a cousin, of some degree, to de Mortimer’s wife, but this has not been verified. In its 870+ years, the church has been refitted and maintained, but otherwise nothing much has changed. If you should ever be able to walk through its doors, you will be in the same building used by people who prayed there over 800 years ago. For those with an opportunity, church services are still held there every third Sunday.

In the Middle Ages, Kilpeck was a fortified village and home to a thriving community. The castle, which was still in use at that time, was large and important enough that King John visited three times within four years. Kilpeck was allowed three medieval fairs, one of them weekly on Fridays. By this time the Hugh de Kilpeck in residence was the grandson of the above named Hugh. 

Hugh did have children though, at least 4 sons that can be found, a Hugh seems to be the oldest. Here we will throw another Hugh into the mix to further muddy the stew. This Hugh appears to have been born in Pulverbatch, Shropshire, rather than in the family digs back in Kilpeck. This would show the mobility of the times as they moved from one land holding to another. This son, Hugh, appears to have inherited lands in Shropshire which can be seen in Shropshire: Its Early History and Antiquaries, by John Corbett Anderson and The Notices of the Ellises, by William Smith Ellis, Esq. Many connections to the de la Mares can be found in Shropshire. Unfortunately, the names seem to have daughtered out and I haven’t pursued those lines of research.

The other three children believed to be sons of Hugh were John, Thomas and Henry. Another segment will continue the history of Kilpeck, de la Mares, Pyes and associated families.



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