Monday, 25 June 2007

Mystery solved!

I have now discovered that it was Shirley Bray from the South Molton Local History Society who very kindly sent me the photocopy of the 1922 invoice from Edwin 'boss' Cruwys. Shirley found the invoice in a drawer at the South Molton Museum. She did e-mail me to let me know it was on the way but unfortunately the e-mail was sent at a time when most of the Tiscali e-mails were being blocked and her original e-mail did not reach me. I'm delighted that the mystery has now been solved.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

The surname Cruys in the Netherlands

Arian Smit has been in touch and has provided some most welcome information on the history of the surname Cruys in the Netherlands from the Dutch surname database. Cruys (or Cruijs) in the Netherlands is a spelling variation of the name Kruis, meaning cross. The explanation for the origin of the name is given as:
1) A person living near a place known as "The Cross" (more usually a cross on a signboard)
2) The professional name of one who makes crosses.
The earliest known occurrence of the surname in Holland appears to be from the sixteenth century with a reference to Christiaen Adriaensz Cruys, who was born in 1533 in Delft, the son of Adriaen Claesz or Cruys. The name Cruys also started to appear in Amsterdam in the sixteenth century and Rotterdam in the seventeenth century. Later on more common spellings were Kruijs/Kruys and Kruis.

The most well known bearer of the surname in Holland is Cornelius Cruys (1655-1727), Vice Admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy and the first commander of the Russian Baltic Fleet. He was half-Norwegian and half-Dutch. He was in fact born as Niels Olsen (Olufsen) but for some unknown reason changed his name to Cruys when he moved to Amsterdam. There is an interesting article on Wikipedia about Cornelius Cruys. There is also a somewhat melodramatic video clip from the forthcoming Cornelius Cruys project on YouTube:

The video is partly in Dutch and partly in English, with possibly some Norwegian thrown in for good measure too. It does however provide a useful opportunity to discover the pronunciation of the surname in Holland - Crows with a sibiliant s - which is very different to the English pronunciation cruise.

Cruys quite possibly developed as a separate surname in Holland, but it is interesting to note that both Cruys and Cruwys are derived from the word cross.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

The Drakes of Cruwys Morchard

Lara Pollard in Australia has been in touch to tell me that she has now launched a new website dedicated to the Drakes of Cruwys Morchard. The website includes some very interesting will transcripts and a full pedigree of the Cruwys Morchard Drakes. The website can be found here.

The Drakes first appear in the Cruwys Morchard records in 1545 when John Drake was listed in the Lay Subsidy Roll. He was one of the wealthier parishioners with an annual income from goods of £12. John Cruwys, the then Lord of the Manor, was the wealthiest person in the parish with an income from land of £40. John Drake married Agnes Locke, the daughter of Hugh Locke and Johan Jete. He died in about 1552. A transcript of his will is provided on the Drake website. The hamlet of Ruckcomb which is mentioned in the will is Ruckham in Cruwys Morchard. The Drakes lived at Ruckham Farm from around 1550 to about 1801.

It seems highly likely that the Drakes of Cruwys Morchard are in some way descended from the Drakes of Ashe in the parish of Modbury. There was an earlier marriage which appears in all the published pedigrees between John Drake and a Miss Cruwys, the daughter of John Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard. John Prince provides the following convoluted account of the early Drake pedigree in his book The Worthies of Devon, published in 1810:
John Billet and Alice his wife had issue Christian, their sole daughter and heir who was married first unto John Drake of Exmouth; secondly unto Richard Francheyney, and had issue John Drake and Christopher Francheyney; which Christopher held Ash, and his son Simon after him. Against whom, John Drake brought his Formedon, as being son of John and Agnes, daughter of John Kelloway, the son of John and _______ daughter of John Cruwys, of Cruwys-morchard, son of John and Christian, his wife, daughter and heir of John Antage, who was eldest son of Christian Billet, by John Drake her first husband, and recovered Ash, which he left to his posterity; in which it hath florished ever since, now upward of two hundred and fifty years.
The name of the Cruwys daughter is not known, though some unreliable sources suggest that she is called Alice Jane. The estimates of the date of the Cruwys/Drake marriage on the IGI vary wildly from as early as 1446 to as late as 1480. Ros Hickman has prepared a detailed timeline which suggests that the eldest son from this marriage, also called John Drake, married Agnes Kelloway or Kayleway in about 1489. It would therefore seem most likely that the Cruwys/Drake marriage took place some time in the 1460s. By this time, the Lord of the Manor of Cruwys Morchard was Sir Thomas Cruwys, the son of John Cruwys. Thomas was confirmed as the son and heir of John Cruwys in 1447. He seems to have married shortly afterwards for we have confirmation from his IPM (inquisition post mortem) that his eldest son was born in about 1449. Sir Thomas famously fought at the Battle of Towton in 1461 and was subsequently killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. We know that Thomas's father, John Cruwys, died some time before 1438 as his mother Joan or Johanna is mentioned in a deed of this date as the "relict of John Cruwys of Morchard". Unfortunately the Cruwys daughter who married John Drake does not appear in any of the Cruwys pedigrees so we have no independent confirmation of her parentage. If she is indeed the daughter of John Cruwys, as the Drake pedigrees suggest, then the only plausible explanation is that she is the daughter of the John Cruwys who died before 1438 and hence the sister of Sir Thomas Cruwys. If so, she must have been born before 1438, which makes a marriage in the 1460s less likely, as medieval brides often married in their teens rather than in their twenties. The date of the Drake/Kelloway marriage could of course be much earlier than suggested because it is based on the approximate birth date of the eldest son. It is quite possible that there were other sons and daughters from this marriage who died as infants. The research continues and we hope that one day we might find the answer.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Update on Edwin 'boss' Cruwys

I have received a surprise package in the post in the form of a photocopy of a 1922 invoice from Edwin Cruwys, undertaker, of 9 East Street, South Molton, to a Mr Buckingham regarding the funeral of Mr Cockram of Molland Lake. One glass hearse and three mourning coaches were hired for the occasion and the total bill was £8 8s 0d. I've already written about Edwin in a previous post and I've now updated the page to incorporate a scan of the invoice. Unfortunately there was no address on the package and no covering note so I don't know the name of the sender. If the person who sent me the invoice reads this posting perhaps they could get in touch so that I can thank them personally.