Their ancestors are originally from Wickwar. Guy visited Wickwar in 1979 with his parents and was made to feel most welcome.
Guy points out that there are several thousand American Wickwire / Wickwares. Some already have and most hope to someday make the pilgrimage to Wickwar…
Neal’s World History Project
Ealdnoth, the Staller to King Edward – the Confessor, was born about 1025 AD in Gloucestershire, England. The Staller means he provided horses for the King and his Army. This was a very important job. To provide hundreds of horses per year meant that Ealdnoth had to own or control much land in western England. His holdings extended from Gloucestershire for sixty miles to the southwest in Somerset. These holdings included the Town and Parish of Wick (many different but similar spellings.) This means that one thousand years ago, Wickwar was part of the “horse country” of England. It probably took multiple generations to gain so much land and authority from the Crown. Ealdnoth’s wife was reputed to be descended from a Danish Viking Queen – making them true Anglo-Saxons. (Anglo was a native of Briton and Saxon was German) not Norman (French.). Ealdnoth was well known and highly respected in the middle ages. His father and ancestors were probably important Knights to previous Kings, but written history only begins in the era of William the Conqueror. When Harold claimed the throne of England after the death of Edward the Confessor, he was challenged by a rival claim to the throne from his cousin William, then the King of Normandy, France. This rivalry resulted in William bringing a large army across the English Channel to challenge Harold for the throne of England. The two armies met and fought one of the greatest battles in English history at Hastings in the year 1066. Ealdnoth brought his local army and fought for Harold. However, William won and Harold was killed in the battle. Instead of going home in defeat, Ealdnoth sought out William and was one of the first Anglo-Saxons to pledge his loyalty to the new King William, now known as William the Conqueror. As the Normans (short for Normandy) took over control of England, they kicked out many of the old Anglo-Saxon sub-rulers. But Ealdnoth found favor with William (who also needed horses) and was one the few old sub-rulers able to maintain his previous possessions. Ealdnoth died a few years later, fighting for his new King.
Ealdnoth had a son named Harding. Harding was born about 1048 in Gloucestershire. William the Conqueror liked Ealdnoth and Harding and allowed Harding to keep everything Ealdnoth had. Remember, back then, everyone served at the pleasure of the King. The King could take away anything and give it to someone else. But Harding thrived and prospered under William. Harding had already had three sons when Pope Urban called for the First Crusade in 1095. Though most of the participating Knights of record were Normans, a few Anglo-Saxons, including Harding also went. This first Crusade was from 1096 to 1099. These Crusaders captured Antioch and the Holy City of Jerusalem. Though there was much hardship and suffering, this Crusade was considered a success. Harding, as did other Knights, brought back a flask of water from the Jordan River, which he believed was Holy Water. Harding used this water to christen his fourth son and named him Jordan in about 1102-1110. Harding died in 1125 at Bristol, Gloucestershire, England.
Harding’s known possessions were at Glouchester, Bristol, and in Somersetshire. Harding’s first born son was Nicholas. Nicholas married the niece of Roger – The Bishop of Salisbury. Nicholas got prime possessions in and around Glouchester. His descendents became known as The Meriots. Harding’s second born was Robert. Robert received prime possessions in and around Bristol. Robert married Eva Durand (Niece of William the Conqueror) and from her received the Berkeley Castle. Robert’s marriage cemented his family’s good relationship to the Crown. Robert became known as Robert, the Devout. Robert’s descendents were the Lords of Berkeley. Harding’s third son was Elias, but little is known of him; he probably died prematurely, perhaps in battle. Harding’s fourth son was Jordan, born after the First Crusade.
Jordan – fitzHarding was also a Knight and inherited the town of Wick (Wyke, Wyken) from his father as well as Brislington Manor in Somerset. Jordan married Maurice. Jordan is considered the founder of the House of the Lords De La Warre. His son John was born in 1160 in the place (Wick) that would become the Town of Wickwar.
John De La Warre was born in 1160 at Wickwar, Gloucestershire. John went on the 3rd Crusade with Richard the Lionheart in 1189 to 1192. The objective of the 3rd Crusade was to retake the Holy Land including Jerusalem from the Moslems, now led by Saladin. Richard conquered everything but Jerusalem. Fierce and brutal fighting marked this Crusade. There were great difficulties and periods when Richard felt he had but few friends. However, John came home with a new name – John De La Warre (Warre was the old spelling for the modern word War.) He must have been an extraordinary, fighting Knight to earn this name. Richard did not get back to France until 1194. Richard asked his younger brother Prince John (the heir apparent) to do a list of requests in England, while Richard stayed in France. On this list was a request to give John De La Warre the Town and Parish of Wick, where this faithful Knight John had been born. This bequest was done in 1196 and officially recorded in 1207. With this land came the title of “Lord.” Thus the town of Wick became known as Wick-Warre/Wickwar, even to this day. The De La Warre family controlled the Town and Parish of Wickwar and also Brislington Manor until 1428, when it passed to the West family through a De La Warre daughter. John had a son that he named Jordan in 1187, 2 years before the Crusade began. The Family Crest shown in the AMW Book can be found in the Herald Registry under the family name Warre of Wick. It is believed there was a primitive Manor at Wickwar. It has not survived, but its location was underneath the present Sports Stadium at Wickwar. It is believed that John died 1213 or perhaps later at the nicer Brislington Manor at Somerset.
Jordan De La Warre was born 1187 at Brislington Manor, Somerset. He was only a 28-year-old Baron in 1215, when he and the other Barons revolted against King John, forcing the King to sign the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta is thought of as the corner stone of liberty and the chief defense against arbitrary and unjust rule in England. It established for the first time the constitutional principle that the power of the King could be limited by a written grant. The Barons, including Jordan, took up arms against John and captured London in May of 1215. By June 10th, both parties met and held negotiations at Runnymede, a meadow near the Thames River. After the King’s great seal was attached, the Barons renewed their oaths of allegiance to the King. The very next year, Jordan had his first son John, born in 1216. Jordan died in 1231.
John De La Warre was born 1216 at Brislington Manor. During the reign of Edward I, John was the Sheriff of Herefordshire. This was an important job. He enforced laws and collected taxes. For this, he got considerable lands and the Manors of Wickwar and Brislington free for life from rent. He too, briefly revolted against the King, but paid a fine and was forgiven.
Roger De La Warre was born in 1250 at Wickwar. He established a market at Wickwar in 1287. It would be Roger who was responsible for building The Trinity Church in 1300 which stills stands in Wickwar today. He was summoned to Parliament to serve in the House of Lords in 1294 to 1311 by Edward I. He attended the Coronation of Edward II in 1307. Roger married Clarice de Tregoz in 1276. Clarice was the great granddaughter of Fulk Fitzwarin and Maude le Vavasour. Fulk owned Whittington Castle. Fulk got into a heated argument with Prince John over taxes. (This is the same Prince John who gave Wick-Warre to John De La Warre.) Fearing for his life, Fulk fled to France. But he came back a few years later and bedeviled Prince John for a few years. Fulk was the earliest real person who inspired the Tales and Ballad of Robin Hood, which began circulating around 1300. Prince John even had “a thing” for Maude. While we cannot really claim to be direct descendants of Robin Hood, because Robin Hood was not a real person, we are direct descendants of the man who first inspired the folk hero. Roger De La Warre was considered the first in the House of the Lords De La Warre. He died 20 June 1320.
John De La Warre was born in 1277 at Brislington Manor. John went with Edward I to Scotland to fight William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298. This battle was recently made famous in the movie “Brave Heart” starring Mel Gibson. However, John fought with the English, not Scotland. The English won. John died in 1347, a victim of the Bubonic Plague aka ”The Black Death.” The Plague of 1347 to 1350 killed about one-third of Europe’s population. It started in China, traveled to Italy, and from there spread throughout Europe. It was one of the worst disasters in human history.
John De La Warre was born in 1300 and died in 1331 at Wickwar. He never acquired the title of Baron, because he did not outlive his father. His first-born son was Roger. (It is possible, but not proven that John had another son or two. We speculate he had another son. It is from a second son that our line would/could descend. In the middle ages, the first-born son received the title and the other children could get an inheritance, but could not use the family name. They had to find a different surname. Our ancestor chose Wickwarre. It included the Warre family name and was the place where he was born. This is the most logical time and place to begin our family lineage. John had Roger in 1326, but did not die until 1331. Thus our line would be considered “Gentry.” This means born into a noble family, but not the firstborn aka the concept of “Peerage.”)
Roger De La Warre was born 30 Nov 1326. He became a very famous Knight, Lord, and Baron. He was only 20 years old at the Battle of Crecy in 1346. Roger was also at the Siege of Calais from 4 Sep 1346 – 4 Aug 1347. This was in France during the “Hundred Year War.” It was in 1356, at the Battle of Poitiers, France, that he became famous. Roger captured Jean (Jon, John), the King of France and his son, alive. He presented the French King to Edward – The Prince of Wales aka “the black prince.” Roger got to keep King Jean’s sword and was singled out by the Prince for special praise in the poem “Chandos Herald: Life of the Black Prince.” In an era where chivalry was important, Sir Roger De La Warre was considered a most highly esteemed example of a chivalrous Knight. (The American Thomas Jefferson claimed to be a descendent of the great Sir Roger De La Warre – probably from the West Family line.) Roger died serving England at Gascony, France in 1370. Roger had two sons, but neither of them had children. Therefore the title of Lord De La Warre passed to his daughter Joan, who had married Sir Thomas West. Their child Sir Reginald West became the new First Lord de la Warre (new line) and our family title and the Town and Parish of Wickwar transferred to their family. As the West family already had a principle seat or Manor, one might say they neglected the economic development of Wickwar.
Sir Thomas West, Lord de la Warre (9 Jul 1577 – 7 Jun 1618, at sea). Sir Thomas was the sixth generation after Sir Reginald. In 1609, Sir Thomas became the second Governor of the Jamestown Colony in Virginia. He is credited with saving the Colony. He did it by planting and harvesting tobacco. Ships would bring men and supplies from England. Sir Thomas would send the ships back to England full of tobacco. As tobacco became more popular, it became a valuable cash crop. Unfortunately, Sir Thomas also permitted the introduction of slavery into the American Colonies to help with the tobacco harvest. Today, there is a River, an Indian Tribe and a small State named after Sir Thomas. As Americans often do, they changed the spelling and pronunciation of his name. Today, he is known as Lord Delaware.