Friday, April 02, 2010

Patience is a virtue that pays off!

I picked up a second-hand book recently, “A calendar of letters relating to North Wales, 1533-circa 1700,” published in 1967 from various collections in the NLW. North Wales has a high concentration of Parrys, including some families that can be traced back to the 1600s, so it’s likely the book will help with general background to the times, as well as the specifics regarding the Parrys listed in the index.

Several of the entries relate to Jeffrey Parry of Rhydolion, who happens to be the earliest ancestor in the pedigree of the Jones-Parry family shown on my web pages at He was described on the Llanbedrog church site as “a zealous puritan from Shropshire who was an officer in the Commonwealth army”, something I’ve not yet found proof of. However, the book of letters quotes a NLW manuscript describing him as “a great Heaven-driver of Llyn & a zealous maintayner of Coventicles”. so that’s a new lead to follow up regarding his religious activities.

Some years ago, whilst browsing bookshops in Hay-on-Wye, I spotted a book entitled “Royal Visits & Progresses to Wales” by Edward Parry. The price meant I didn’t buy it – but now I have just discovered that the book is available for download from Googlebooks. (A much cheaper option!)

Was it worth the wait? Apart from acquiring an item by a Parry, does it tell me anything useful? Yes, perhaps it does. Whilst it was published in 1851, so repeats the errors of some other antiquarian works of that time, it does include transcriptions from manuscripts. One of these refers to “Cornet Jeffrey Parry”, who lived near Pwllheli, and who was to be given money to distribute in a way that furthered the work of the Gospel. Wikipedia indicates that a Cornet is a new and junior officer. Could this be the confirmation that Jeffrey was indeed an officer in the Commonwealth Army?

According to the pedigree, Jeffrey Parry died in 1658 and the letter was written in 1657, so he either died fairly young or this refers to someone else. But, despite the general popularity of the surname, he is the only Jeffrey Parry I know of in that area so, yet again, this could be a possible lead into the origins of the Jones Parry family.

Let’s hope I don’t have to wait too long to find out more.

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