Brian Picton Swann


(A few years ago)

Another question is will the Haplogroup assignment of R-493 (R1b1a2a1a1c2b1a1a1a) help show where the Picton family came from a 1000 years ago?

My two-penny worth on all this is that there has been quite a lot done on migration patterns of the Normans settling into Wales - but, of course, it does not lend itself to a couple of paragraphs on a Bulletin Board posting. It is quite a complex subject and quite a lot has been written about it. Likewise on the subject of Knight's Fees and what that entailed at this and later times. But let me quote two paragraphs from John Davies, A History of Wales, 2nd Edition, 2007, pp. 110-111.

The knights' fees were organised on a manorial basis, a system which may not have differed greatly from that of the maenor which had existed in parts of Wales before the coming of the Normans. The earliest records concerning the knights' fees are two hundred years later than the reign of Henry I (1100-1135); they show that most of the tenants of the manors in the Vale of Glamorgan bore English names, and they contain no suggestion that the tenants were recent incomers. It is clear therefore that English peasants, as well as Norman knights had migrated to Wales, not only to the Vale of Glamorgan but also to the Gower peninsula, Pembroke and Gwent Is Coed. As the history of Ireland amply proves, a dense settlement of peasants is always a more effective way of consolidating conquest than a thin layer of gentry. The ethnic nature of the most fertile areas of the southern fringes of Wales was changed by immigrants whom the Welsh were unable fully to assimilate.

Of these colonizations, the only one referred to in contemporary sources is that mentioned by Brut y Tywysogyon (Chronicles of the Princes) in its entry for 1105. The Brut states that in that year Henry I allowed a colony of Flemings to settle in the cantrefi (approximately equivalent to later-day Hundreds) of Rhos and Daugleddau in southern Dyfed (Pembrokeshire). According to Giraldus Cambrensis, they received the special patronage of the crown and although the Welsh sought on several occasions to expel them, the character of the region settled by them was transformed to such an extent that only seven of the almost fifty parishes of the two cantrefi bear Welsh names.

I hope we will gradually get a better sense of how these links may go across the Channel - the two obvious places are to the Low Countries (Flanders and Picardy) and to Normandy.

I hope also that we may stand a chance of getting a real UK surname expert, such as George Redmonds, to come to the next WDYTYA. Rumour has it that he is collaborating with Mark Jobling's group at Leicester University on this subject. I suspect that these migrations were step-wise processes for the bulk of the migrants involved.

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