Our time in West Country went very quickly. We visited the Bodmin Church in Cornwall and the Eastlake Farm in Devon, both places we had visited in the past and have significance to the family name. We also did research in Truro and Redruth in Cornwall, and Sowton, Devon. I will try and write an article on both the church and the farm when I get home.
We also arranged to meet another researcher of our family name(s) in Bratton Clovelly in Devon. She has concluded that all of these variant names will most likely date back to the name, Byestelake (loosely, east by the stream or water) in Devon, and identified in the Assise Rolls of 1244 in the Broadwoodwidger Parish. This connection of the variant names is certainly what I hope our DNA project will confirm… that we share a common ancestor.
Researching in the Devon Heritage Center at Moor House in Sowton (near Exeter), I found it unbelievable how many more records have been digitized since we were last here in 2010. I hope to share a list of websites when I get my research organized at home.. All of us interested in this name can now do so much online from the United States. Seeing digitized copies isn’t like holding the old documents, but sometimes the translations are much more understandable, both because of the language (often Old English and Latin) and because of the aging of the documents. We left Devon on Sunday, May 26th, to continue research on other family names in Sussex. When I get my photos organized, I will post some additional pictures to summarize our trip, but this will be my last post while traveling. What a fascinating journey it has been!
The days fly by and I am derelict in posting because we were enjoying Bodmin, and then moved on to Clowance Estates near Praze-an-Beeble, visting friends and staying in doors on a couple of days due to the heavy rain and wind. When you leave A30 in Cornwall, the roads are often very narrow and even only wide enough for one car, and there are unexpected tractors and other farm equipment so rainy driving isn’t great fun. We had seen most of the tourist sites in past trips, so we mostly like to talk with folks in the pubs, visit friends made before, and just enjoy being here…when not visiting a research center. We have found about 20 people in the phone book, mostly with the spelling ESTLICK, but some other variant spellings. We are going to stop by a store in Troon to see if we can find one of the families but we have discovered that most do not trace their families back beyond the first census in the 1800’s. Way too late for our connection. I believe DNA will show we all have a common ancestor but finding that link to Devon and Cornwall will remain very difficult. I am just grateful that I have experienced the discoveries that I have in Cornwall, Devon and London and even if you are not into genealogy it is really LOVELY to visit this country, so like our own but so different. Just wish it would stop raining for a few days!
Today we went to Truro to renew my subscription to the Cornwall Family History Society. I had let it lapse since our visit in 2010 but they had all my info and i could keep my long held number. We went to the small alley of their location in past years, only to find they have moved. They are now at 18 Lemon Street close to the parking lot we usually use (through Lemon Street Market) and very near Mannings, a favorite restaurant. The new location is beautiful with a large table near the reference books in the library, and several computers for online research in a separate room. The volunteers are friendly and helpful and although nothing new was discovered from our previous visits, it was satisfying to be there and to talk with fellow genealogists! We had hoped to attend their Spring Meeting on Saturday but there were no lectures and it was only a tour of Lanhydrock House, which we have gone to several times on previous trips, so we decided to continue on our own research. I would encourage members of the Eastlick Name Project to consider joining the Cornwall Family History Society…they are digitizing more and more of their material. We will be going to Heritage House in Devon in a couple weeks and will probably join their group as well.
On Monday, May 6th, we left Salisbury and after stopping to visit friends near Ilminster, we traveled the well-known route to Cornwall on A30, across the Moor in Devon (passing close to Bratton Clovelly and where the Eastlake Farm is located and where we will visit in a couple of weeks) to Lanhydrock Hotel in Bodmin, Cornwall. Just down the road we enter Bodmin passing the church featured on my Blog. We will return to visit as we have on all of our trips but after driving we are always happy to settle in our hotel (especially one that we know and love like Lanhydrock). Coming to Cornwall feels like coming home. The people are friendly helpful (like assisting with opening our gas tank lid on our very automatic rental car…the trick is to open the lid immediately after turning off the engine). Although we had lovely weather in Salisbury, the forecast is for wind and rain in Cornwall. Fortunately Tuesday was lovely (as they say over here) and the rain didn’t hit until Wednesday.
Russ and I arrived in Great Britain on May 1st. We stayed in Salisbury for 5 nights as a transition time getting over jet lag. Salisbury is one of our favorite cities and we have visited it on every one of our trips to the UK beginning in 1979, having discovered the ancient hotel, Red Lion Inn, identified as the oldest continuous hotel in England. The original building was constructed in the 1200’s to house workmen building the Cathedral. I have no ancestors that I am aware of in Wiltshire, but Russ does, and he claims St. Thomas Church in the city center as one of his ancestral churches.