Sunday, January 08, 2012

Blanche Parry and Queen Elizabeth I

I don't normal specifically advertise Parry related products, but I hope you'll forgive me for this one, since it is in aid of a good cause.

Ruth Richardson, who wrote the book "Mistress Blanche: Queen Elizabeth I’s Confidante" has been involved in the production of a limited edition, souvenir calendar, the proceeds of which are all to go to Bacton Church, in Herefordshire.  She writes,
  These lovely pictures+detailed descriptions (making a short book) are in a calendar-format to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, 2012. Through the generosity of the Queen (who waived charges) it includes the gorgeous portrait of Princess Elizabeth, c.1546, in her red and gold dress. The Marquess of Salisbury has generously allowed the Rainbow portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, the portrait of Lord Burghley (Blanche's cousin) and a photograph of Hatfield Old Palace to be used without charges. The other pictures show: Blanche Parry's St. Margaret's Church (Westminster) tomb, Blanche's Bacton monument, Queen Elizabeth I's Presence Chamber, the frontispiece of the 1588 Welsh Bible, Llangorse Lake + 1584 map, the site of Newcourt + drawing of the house, Bacton Church and Dore Abbey. We are most grateful to all the picture owners. Details can be seen on
All proceeds from this calendar will benefit Bacton Church where Blanche worshipped as a girl and where her family are buried. Apart from printing, all work on this project has been voluntary. It is a strictly limited edition, with superb pictures, and cannot be repeated. This calendar really is recommended to keep as a collectable. Recently described as 'magnificent', 'gorgeous' and 'unique', it has already sold throughout the UK and Europe, and from Alaska to Australia.... 
Further copies can be obtained from or directly from Ruth E. Richardson. Thank you.
So, if you're still in need of a calendar for 2012, or just want to gain a collectable, please see Ruth’s website, at , for more information.


I saw on the news recently that an avalanche in the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt has left many British holidaymakers stranded. This reminded me of some correspondence last year regarding Edward Parry, Suffragan Bishop of Dover, whose tombstone is shown on my page at .  It turned out that, in 1871, Edward travelled to Switzerland in order to consecrate several Anglican Churches, one of which was The English Church (St Peter’s) in Zermatt.  The Times Online for Aug 05, 1871 reported that "The Right Rev. Edward Parry, D.D. Suffragan Bishop of Dover, will consecrate the Zermatt Church on Sunday next."  Diane, my correspondent, very kindly arranged for a copy of the Church’s history, “A Church in the Alps”, which contains some details of Bishop Parry’s involvement in the dedication of the Church, to be sent to me.

It is interesting how, even with a large study, one family can come to dominate so many of the references collected.  I happened to be considering writing a blog posting about a sequence of Parrys – Joshua Parry, Caleb Hillier Parry and Charles Henry Parry, three generations from one family, when I heard the news item.  The post was prompted because of my purchase of a book entitled "The Spirit of Enquiry, Caleb Hillier Parry, MD, FRS" by Sholem Glaser, just before Christmas.  This is one of several books I’ve come across in the past and thought “I really must get a copy”. Written by a retired surgeon, the book covers Caleb’s contributions to medicine but it also contains information about his ancestry and family relationships, so my hope is that it will both confirm the information I already have, and also give me some new leads on the family.   

Charles Henry’s brother, and the youngest son of Caleb Hillier Parry, was Sir William Edward Parry, the arctic explorer - and his son was the Edward, Suffragan Bishop of Dover, subject of the Swiss churches query.  Later descendants of the family include another Bishop, another Admiral and a couple of knights – so that’s why this one family seems to dominate the record collection. 

And since this family made use of the same coat of arms as the Herefordshire “Golden Valley” family, it is one that I am particularly interested in putting together the pedigree for.  I usually try to avoid collecting too much general biographical information on individuals – anyone interested in that much detail on these individuals can easily find it elsewhere anyway (although there are some errors – as on the Wiki page for the Suffragan Bishop, which has his father incorrectly listed as his grandfather).  But another book relating to this family, “A Memoir of the Rev. Joshua Parry, Nonconformist Minister of Cirencester; With Some Original Essays and Correspondence”, has also been on my “wants” list for a while.  This is the biography of Joshua written by his grandson, Charles Henry and published in 1872 so, again, it’s a book likely to contain information about family connections.   I discovered that it has joined the many old books being digitised and republished – unfortunately, only as a “snippet view” online, but at least printed versions are now easily available so that’s where some of my “Christmas money” will be going! 

I wrote in my last post about identifying the probable author of the pedigree sheets in Hereford library.  As I was looking up the book about Joshua a few days ago, I noticed that the front cover for the original version shown on the Google books page (at ) is the drawing of the coat of arms from the tomb of Joan Parry, formerly Morgan, the wife of James Parry of Poston, which I show on my “quartered coats of arms” page at  .  I obtained this drawing at the same time as the pedigree sheets so, since I don’t think Charles Henry was the author of them, it appears he was probably in touch with the author (or my identification is wrong!)  It will be an interesting task to try to identify who was communicating with who, out of the various, separate, Parry families, during the 1800s.

I haven’t made a great deal of effort to contact living Parrys – I am quite happy just to be in touch with the steady stream of researchers who contact me, since the ParryONS is a fairly large study.  It will be extremely time consuming collecting the records up to date, yet alone do all the communication that would be necessary.  But it occurred to me that perhaps, for queries about certain families, I should be seeking out living descendants.  I knew that the great, great granddaughter of Sir William Edward Parry published several books – indeed, I have her biography of Sir William Edward Parry on my bookshelf.  Unfortunately, having found an address for her through some online research papers, I then found what I suspect will be a notice for her death at .

So, now I am pondering - should I proceed to look for other descendants of this family?  In fact, should I change my own intentions regarding the study as a whole, and make more effort to contact living Parrys?  (Certainly, if the DNA project is ever to succeed, that will probably be necessary.)  At times like this, I am reminded of how different One-Name Studies can be.  Back in 2008, Andrew Millard made a post to the Forum comparing the way in which the Pomeroy Family Association (PFA) and my Parry Study were tackling research (  ).   I remember thinking at the time that perhaps the way in which the PFA had a very specific aim (“The aim of the project is to reconstruct the family trees of everyone who calls themselves by any of the surnames we associate, either historically or in the present-day, as a variant of, or related to, Pomeroy.”) was something I should consider for the Parry ONS, rather than just “carrying out” a one-name study.  It is slightly depressing to look at the post on my blog that Andrew refers to and to read how many things I listed then, which are still “ongoing projects” – would a more specific goal would have helped these get finished?   

Actually, probably not – the rest of life would still have got in the way and, to be honest, part of the fun and excitement of the study, for me, are the unexpected avenues I end up going down.  But what the reminder has done is helped to provide some focus for getting things back on track, after so many months of other activities taking priority.  I think this is going to be a good year for the study!

Monday, January 02, 2012

How has your study grown this year?

That was the question posed on the Forum at the end of last year. I don’t currently keep statistics on the Parry study (mental note to do so in the future!). However, I do keep a list of all communication, so I can tell from that, that I had 20 new Parry related contacts over the course of 2011. That’s down on previous years (26 in 2010, 31 in 2009 and over 50 in each the two years before that). Although that might be a sign of less people researching, I suspect much of the reason for the reduction is my own lack of activity.

It is good to take stock occasionally of how the study has progressed – even when it serves as a reminder of things that haven’t yet been achieved (after all, I’m even less likely to do something if I don't remember it!) And, although I may not have managed to write about these events at the time, during 2011 the probable author of the pedigree sheets from Hereford library was identified, I learnt that there is evidence the Allington Parry family used the “fess and three lozenges” coat of arms and therefore linked themselves to the Herefordshire “Golden Valley” family, and Parry entries were collected from numerous sources (sometimes unexpectedly, as when the archaeology group visited a local museum to look at the roman collection, but browsed the social history exhibits as well, turning up three Parrys for me).

2012 has made a promising start, with both a new Herefordshire Parry contacting me and someone joining the Parry DNA project (not actually a Parry but, with the low numbers involved in the project so far, I welcome any interest.) So, instead of just causing me to look back, the main result of asking the question has been a positive thought – the opportunities are there for 2012, so how am I going to make the best use of them, in order to progress the study?