Have you ever had a go at tracing your family tree? Some three years ago, I did.
Scraping through old census records, vestry minutes, specialised websites and good old fashioned chats with family members, I was able to piece together a family tree stretching back to Devon from as early as the 18th century. I even had the chance to visit a small parish called Bridestowe near Okehampton where I found the final resting place of many members of my paternal ancestry.
After arriving at a brick wall in my research, and as a tip for any budding descendant searchers, it was not until I looked into alternate spellings of my family name (Rule > Rull, Rolle) that I managed to weave my family back to 14th century Scotland, where a John Rolle was the son of one Elizabeth Bruce – illegitimate daughter of Robert the Bruce I of Scotland (of Braveheart and Bannockburn fame).
Isabella, mother of said Margaret Bruce, was the granddaughter of Llywelyn Fawr (Llywelyn the Great) – the famed Welsh monarch of the 13th century. It’s all rather humbling.
[As son of Margaret and Robert de la Glen, it’s a wonder as to why their son be named Rolle. It is said that Robert the Bruce was saved from a raging bull by a friend known as William Rule who was then given the name William Turn(e)bull (starting the Turnbull name – both Turnbull and Rule use the motto ‘I Saved the King’ as their family words). Perhaps Robert himself gave the name Rule / Rolle to one of his grandchildren in homage to a man who saved his life.
In the question of how Rolle became Rule, my theory states that Rolle was simply pronounced as Rule. Scone castle, where many Scottish kings were crowned, is pronounced skoon. Therefore leading to olle pronounced as ool].
But why am I bringing my personal family ties to your attention? My family, after all, has been in Leeswood a mere century when John Rule (father of my grandfather, Islwyn) left Liverpool having been born in Devon.
Well I’ve been doing some reading about the family Wynnes of Leeswood hall. What came to my attention was startling to say the least.
The Wynne Baronets ceased to exist many centuries ago now and their family lines were diluted in time, but we may still trace their ancestry backwards, if not forwards, in time.
Through illegitimate children and multiple marriages, the Wynne Baronets were descended from one Owain Glyndŵr, the famous Welsh freedom fighter of the early 15th century.
My next question was an enquiry into why no fame has been noted that Glyndŵr’s bloodline climaxed in our village. A simple search on Glyndŵr states that a Baronet family inhabited a hall in “Leas Wood(e)”, hence why no ties were made with the modern village name, Leeswood.
How wonderful a day or two researching lineage can be amongst 6 weeks of school preparation work until our newest generation embarks on another academic year this September.
Children of Robert the Bruce (Wikipædia)