1. Within is an outline of our family which, as records show, for over 300 years (and as tradition says, for over 600 years) has farmed its own lands and those of others at Blewbury, below an historic Saxon battlefield. It is no more than an outline, but far more detail is available of the kindred named in it, of other ancestors and descendants indicated, but through lack of space not named, and of the several local families with whom they have intermarried.
2. These records represent an accumulation over many years from diverse sources : up to a century ago, from parish registers, wills, manorial records and other ancient deeds ; as to the past century, from information supplied by correspondents in various branches of the family. This information can be easily verified and amplified from, e.g., registers and family Bibles, at a considerable cost in time and money, but with far less labour and disappointment than the search for earlier records involves.
3. The pedigree inevitably starts from the Elizabethan yeoman, Nicholas. The descent from him is traced with practical certainty and considerable amplitude, but of the line of ancestry before him it is not easy to be definite, though the name occurs often in the locality in the preceding centuries when surnames were coming into use, and occasionally before that as a baptismal name, form Domesday onwards. The name, of Saxon derivation (attractively alleged to be “hun-frith,” a giant for freedom) is throughout the Stuart era uncertainly spelt - thanks largely to the illiteracy of the parsons - but even then strikingly often with the distinctive “f” : and became settled in out recognised spelling soon after the Hanoverian succession.
4. From the marriage of John with his second cousin Ann Ilbury (great-grandchildren of Nicholas) in the time of William and Mary, spring the two mail branches, comprehensively traced to the present day. The “Manorial” line, commencing with a four-fold Thomas sequence, now has its head Cyril Maurice, in Calcutta, but the branch of Nathaniel, of Upton, has maintained its close association with Blewbury. The “Churchwarden” line, in which the name of Ilbury has persisted, maintains at its head that name in two generations at Mazeppa, under the Rockies, while Nigel Bruce carries forward the name of Humfrey in his generation in England, and daughters of the family in Blewbury and Hagbourne and Sydney have revived it as a baptismal name. Even this pedigree shows twelve groups of Elizabeth’s seventh cousins, and Joanna aptly leads the next generation at Blewbury.
5. Periodically comes the urge to publish a small book on the family, for which ample material is available but always there is more in sight. The material extends to material extends to maternal families, such as the Ilburys, as ancient in origin but gone from the scene 200 years ago, and the Havalls, granted the Manor of Sowberry by the King in 1155 and great artists for a century past. The urgencies of the present time impel me to put aside this project for the present, and to issue this brief summary now to friendly kin in my own acquaintance, with this explanation of its brevity and apology beforehand for any unwitting error. If any with for greater detail or to further the more ambitious project, it will be a pleasure to hear from them; and if corrections or additions or suggestions are sent, I shall be duly grateful.