0952e Gwefan Cymru-Catalonia. Surnames in the old county of Sir Drefaldw˙n ('Montgomeryshire'). An article written in 1871 by R. Williams. Hamer, Hammonds (Hamon), Hibbott, Higgins (Huyghens), Hulings (Huelin), Ingram, Jandrell, Jarman (Germain), Jervis (Gervaise, or Jervois), Jordan (Jourdain), Mytton, Peate, etc



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Cyfenwau Maldw˙n
Surnames from the old
county of Sir Drefaldw˙n / Montgomeryshire
From an article published in 1871

map o gymru a'r gwledydd catalaneg (map_cymru_pc_drenewydd_050112)

October 1871. Bye-gones
Foreign Surnames in Montgomeryshire
By Richard Williams.
(From the Powys-Land Club Collections)

The frequent occurrence of surnames other than Welsh in purely Welsh-speaking districts of Montgomeryshire has often been remarked, and it is sometimes asked how they came to be there. It has been stated by some that the bearers of these patronymics are descendants of a troop of soldiers disbanded here or at the close of the Great Rebellion. It is curious, however, to note that many of these names are not English, but are evidently of French or Flemish origin. The following list contains some of this class, which have for centuries existed, and still exist, in Montgomeryshire: -
or Conde
(Gervaise, or Jervois)

[The name "Ricus Pate" occurs repeatedly in the "Nomina Ballivorum," temp.
Elizabeth. It is still borne by several persons in Llanbr˙nmair, and also in the country adjoining Shropshire, near Oswestry.]

[Of Norman origin. Among the sheriffs of Montgomeryshire we find the names of Nicholas Purcell (1553), Thomas Purcell (1597), and Edward Purcell, of Nantcribba, Forden (1625). Persons bearing this name are still to be met with in that neighbourhood.
Rowe (Rou, Roux, or Le Rou)
Savage (Sauvage)
Tibbott (Tiebaut, or Tibetot)

Doubtless many others may be added to the above. Besides these there are others of undoubted French or Flemish origin, but the introduction of which into Montgomeryshire is so recent that they can hardly be considered as county names, such as
Agnew (Agneua)
Delmar (De la Mer)

On the other hand, others which about a hundred years ago or a little more, existed in the county, have now become extinct or disappeared, owing to removals, emigration, inter-marriages, or the adoption of other names. Among these, the following may be mentioned:-
Bowdler (De Boulars)
[Although Devereux has disappeared in Montgomeryshire as a final surname, it is still retained as a first surname in the Harrison and Pryce families]

[A family of this name lived in Llanbr˙nmair during nearly the whole of the last century, but towards the close of it assumed the name of Jones instead of their original name]
[Of Norman origin. Andrew Vavasour of
Newtown was sheriff in 1563. His granddaughter, Penelope Vavasour, was the wife of the celebrated preacher, Vavasour Powell]

The names of Corbett, Mytton, Tibbot, and some others, were no doubt introduced by the Norman lords and their retainers who settled in the
Marches. The Flemish immigration in the time of Henry 1 into Gower (Gw˙r) and other parts of South Wales, and thence probably in course of time to some extent into Montgomeryshire, will account for some others. The great improvements introduced by the Flemings in flannel and cloth-weaving are well known, and Montgomeryshire probably owes its fame, as for a long period the head-quarters of the Welsh flannel trade, to the early settlement within it of these "gentle and profitable strangers".

[A pound avoirdupois, which is used in weighing wool, is called in Montgomeryshire "Pw˙s Gw˙r" (the Gower pound)]

The tall hat so generally worn by the women in
South Wales is said to have been introduced by the Flemings. This was the head-dress usually worn in Montgomeryshire up to a very recent period, and is still occasionally to be met with in the southern parts of the county. From this we may not unreasonably infer that the influence of the foreigners was powerfully felt in the county, and that in all probability many of them or their immediate descendants settled within it.
Later on, the terrible persecutions of the Protestants in Flanders by Philip of Spain, and of the Huguenots in France in the latter half of the sixteenth century, and, especially the cruel persecutions of Louis XIV, in the following century, crowded our shores from time to time with fugitives, some of whom, or their descendants, probably found their way into Montgomeryshire.

"Many a tradition is still preserved in Huguenot families of the hair-breadth escapes of their ancestors from
France in these terrible times... The young D'Albiacs, whose blood now intermingles with the ducal family of Roxburgh, were smuggled out of the country in hampers... The two La Condamine children, whose descendants still flourish in England and Scotland, were carried off in baskets slung across a mule, travelling only at night. The ancestors of the Courtaulds, now settled in Essex, was carried off when quite a boy in a donkey's pannier from Saintonge to the northern frontier accompanied by a faithful servant, who, upon approaching any town where their progress was likely to be opposed, covered up the child with greens and garden stuffs."
[Smiles, "The Huguenots," pp. 140, 150]

Curiously enough, tradition states concerning more than one of the families whose names are included in the list given above, that their ancestors came over from France or Germany in kypes or panniers, from which we may with some reason conclude that Montgomeryshire can boast of counting among its inhabitants descendants of the brave and suferring Huguenots.

[It is an old tradition that the ancestors of the Woods of Llanbrynmair came over in this way from abroad, and that one of the children fell out of the pannier, and was so covered with mud that he was called brunt (dirty, or ill-favoured); {in North Wales brwnt = cruel, in South Wales = dirty} hence it is said, the origin of the Brunt family. Some other families are also said to have come over in panniers.]

The subject is an interesting one, and the writer hopes it will be taken up and treated more ably and exhaustively than it could have been in the compass of this short paper, his object being to draw attention to it.



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