Thursday, 20 May 2010

Domesday descendants

A friend in Devon has very kindly sent me a photocopy of a page containing the Cruse entries from the Katherine Keats-Rohan book Domesday Descendants. Keats-Rohan is a fellow of Linacre College, Oxford, and has pioneered the use of prosopography in historical research. If you are not familiar with the term prosopography it is explained in this Wikipedia article. Keats-Rohan has written two very important books which are very useful for anyone with a genealogical interest in medieval history:

 - K.S.B. Keats-Rohan.  Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166. Volume  I: Domesday Book.  Boydell Press, 1999, 572pp.

-  K.B.S. Keats-Rohan. Domesday Descendants: A Prosopography of People Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166. Volume  II Pipe Rolls to Cartae Baronum. Boydell Press, 2002, 1179pp.

The entries of interest to me were found in the second volume on Domesday Descendants. I have copied the details below:
de Cruce, Rainald
Attested several of the charters of Roger earl of Hertford (d.1173), from whom he held half a fee de novo in 1166. Perhaps the same as the earl's steward Rainald. Geoffrey de Cruce held half a fee of Clare in Walton, Surrey, in 1242 (Fees, 685).

Harper-Bill and Mortimer, Stoke by Clare Cartulary, nos 28, 30-31, 36; Hart, Cartularium Monasterii de Rameseia, no. CXCIII; Red Book of the Exchequer, ed. Hall (1897), pp. 403-7; Stenton, Documents illustrative of Danelaw (1920), no. 333.

de Cruce, Ricardus
Mentioned in charters of Ranulf I of Chester as having given land at Mostyn to St Werburga when he became a monk. Father of Norman.

Barraclough, Charters of Anglo-Norman Earls of Chester, nos 13, 28, 49.

de Crues, Ottuel
Attested Colne charters of c.1160. Held half a fee de novo from Oliver de Tracy of Barnstaple in 1166, at Cruwys Morchard, Devon. This was held for one fee by the heirs of Alexander de Crues in 1242 (Fees, 748). In 1242 Richard de Crues held one fee of Barnstaple in 'Nytheresse' (Fees, 773).

Fisher, Cartularium Prioratus de Colne, nos 36, 65; Pipe Roll 9 Henry II, 24-e/ht; Red Book of the Exchequer, ed. Hall (1897), p. 255.
I've come across early references to the surname de Cruce when searching the online Patents Rolls database. As far as I can establish there is no connection with the Cruwys family from Cruwys Morchard. It is however possible that the de Cruces are the ancestors of some of the present-day Cruse lines, which clearly have multiple origins.

Keats-Rohan makes no mention of two early references to the Cruwys surname which were quoted by Margaret Cruwys in her book A Cruwys Morchard Notebook: 1066-1874 (James Townsend and Sons, Exeter, 1939):
c. 1175 Robert de Cruwys, mentioned in a Pipe Roll of 1175, and Robert Cruwys, an undertenant of Henry Pomeroy, 1198, probably father and son.
Unfortunately Margaret Cruwys does not provide any sources for these references. The Pipe Rolls have been transcribed and published and are available at my local record office. I hope to check them out at some point. It seems strange that Keats-Rohan did not discover these other two early references.

The earliest references to the surname in the family collection of papers held at Cruwys Morchard House in Devon are found in the Tracy Deed which probably dates from the early 1200s. The names of Richard de Cruwes and Alexander de Cruwes appear as witnesses to this deed. I have made a transcription of the Tracy Deed available online on Genuki Devon which can be read here. The Tracys were a powerful baronial family. A William Tracy or William de Tracy was one of the four barons who assassinated Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury, in Canterbury Cathedral on 29th December 1170. There is an unsubstantiated story that a member of the Cruwys family was present at this event.

The pedigree of the Cruwys family, as recorded at the College of Arms, is believed to commence with the Richard de Cruwes mentioned in the Tracy Deed. I have not seen any document confirming the relationship between Richard de Cruwes and Alexander de Cruwes. Richard appears in numerous documents around this time as he was a justice of the assize for the county of Devon. The earliest reference dates from 1200 when, according to Margaret Cruwys,  he was  “taken into custody being accused of the death of Jordan de la Cell on Exmoor" though again rather frustratingly the source is not given. The most recent reference I have found is in the Patent Rolls when Richard de Crues was appointed a justice for the assizes of novel disseisin at Exeter in the twenty seventh year of the reign of King Henry the Third [1242/3]. Alexander de Cruwys was probably either the brother or son of Richard de Cruwys. He is mentioned in an Assize Roll dating from 1238 which is summarised in The Cruwys Morchard Notebook. Clearly much more work remains to be done to unravel this early part of the Cruwys family tree.

© Debbie Kennett 2010


Andrew Millard said...

"It seems strange that Keats-Rohan did not discover these other two early references.": The reference is 1175 and Domesday Descendants deals strictly with people mentioned 1066-1166, so this is outside its range.

The 1175 Pipe Roll is to be be found in the online copy of the print publication at BYU Library.
There are links to the many other volumes from

Debbie Kennett said...

Thanks Andrew. Although the book only covers the period up to 1166 Keats-Rohan does also provide the 1242 references from the Book of Fees which was what got me digging out my other early Cruwys references. Presumably she restricted her search of the Pipe Rolls to 1166 and relied on the Book of Fees for context. Many thanks for the link to the 1175 Pipe Rolls, and the other volumes on the Medieval Genealogy website. I've now located the reference to Robertus de Crues and found another reference to a Reginaldus de Cruce in the same 1175 volume. The entries read as follows:

De misericordia Regis pro foresta sua
Robertus de Crues et Stephanus reddt. comp. de .xx. m. pro eodem [de misericordia sua et patris sui pro foresta]. In thesauro .x. .m. Et debent .x. m.

Reginaldus de Cruce redd. comp. de .1. m. pro eodem. In thesauro .x. l. et .vj. s. et .viij. d. Et debet .xxiij. l. de quibus .x. l. sunt requirende a Willelmo de Albenei in Oxinefordscr' qui habet terram ipsius Reginaldi que est de feodo suo. Et lxvj. s. et .viij. d. a Willelmo filio Helt. , Et .xiiij. m. et dimidia a com[ite] de Clara.

I shall have to go through all the other Pipe Rolls to see if any other variant spellings have been missed.

Joseph Crews said...

Eli De Creuhalle (Crewe Hall)
-Abt 1060, Born, County of Cheshire, Eng
-As recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, Eli Crewe, a free man, (or his father) was the original property holder of the lands and fishery of Crewe Hall before the Norman Conquest. The property, and many other Cheshire properties, were taken by the new Norman kingdom and given to Robert FitzHugh (a Norman) as the new feudal lord.
- FitzHugh in turn leased the property back to Eli Crewe for 10 shillings a year. From this we can deduce that Eli Crewe was not a Norman, or he would have been allowed to keep the property as his own landlord.
-Since the Crewe male line of Cheshire carries the M253-uN1315 genetic marker (Ultra-Norse) on the Y chromosome, we can also deduce that Eli Crewe was a free man of Viking origin, rather than a Norman Conqueror of Viking Origin.
-Cheshire was also known to be a Norwegian stronghold before the Norman Conquest.

Debbie Kennett said...

Thanks Joseph. I didn't know about that reference. There were actually two places by the name of Crewe in the Domesday Book. I have a note of the following from The Domesday Book: England's Heritage, Then and Now, edited by Thomas Hinde:

Crewe (by Nantwich) Creu: Richard de Vernon. Town developed in the 19th century with the railway. Crewe Green, a hamlet nearby.

Crewe (near Farndon)
Creuhalle: Eli, the pre-Conquest holder, from Robert FitzHugh. 1/2 fishery.

Images of the Domesday pages can be downloaded for a small fee from the National Archives website:

We don't yet have anyone in the DNA project from the Crewe of Cheshire line so we cannot draw any conclusions about their origins. If you know of anyone in the UK with a well documented pedigree from the Crewe of Cheshire line we can offer a free Y-DNA test.

Andrew Millard said...

The two Cheshire Crewe entries (from the Domesday text at Hull University) are:

CHS 2,22
Robert [son of Hugh] also holds [from Earl Hugh] CREWE HALL, and Eli from him. He held it himself; he was a free man. 1 hide paying tax. Land for 1 plough. It is there in lordship, with 2 smallholders. 1/2 fishery. Value 10s; it was waste; so found.
[Image of the original on Domesday Map.]

CHS 5,13
Richard [of Vernon] also holds CREWE. Osmer held it. 1 hide paying tax. Land for 2 ploughs. 1 rider, 1 villager and 2 smallholders with 1 plough. Meadow, 1 1/2 acres; woodland 1 league long and 1/2 wide. Value before 1066, 10s; now 5s; found waste.
[Image of the original on Domesday Map.]

The descent of the later CREWE family of Crewe is claimed to be documented from c.1150 according to Ormerod's 1819 The history of the county palatine and city of Chester (pages 165ff). There are probably more recent considerations of the charter witnessed by Henry de Criwa and if the dating is still taken as c.1150 I'd expect him to appear in Domesday descendants.

Domesday gives no evidence that Eli had a surname, and as the later family holds the other Crewe and takes its name from that place rather than Crewe Hall, it seems unlikely that there is a connection between Eli and the later CREWE family. Indeed, it is widely accepted that there are only two families extant today that have documentary evidence for a pre-conquest English male-line descent: ARDEN and BERKELEY (see for example, David Hey, Family names and family history, p.52). If CREWE can be documented as a third one, this would be a major breakthrough in medieval genealogy.

Debbie Kennett said...

Andrew, Many thanks for finding all these references. I'd heard of the Crewe pedigrees in Ormerod but had never seen the book and hadn't realised that it was now on the Internet Archive. I could do with someone else taking on a one-name study for the surnames Crew and Crewe as I already have my work cut out with the medieval Cruwys family!

Thank you also for the links to the entries on the Domesday Map website which is another wonderful resource I hadn't yet discovered.

A large proportion of people with the surnames Crews and Cruse in America descend from a line that has its roots in Virginia. The spelling seems to have evolved from Crew to Crews. One branch later adopted the Cruse spelling. The earliest Crew in America was one Randall Crew who arrived on the ship the Charles in 1621. Some sources indicate that he was from Cheshire whereas other researchers claim he was from Laycock in Wiltshire. We are however still unable to trace the Virginia Crews line back to Randall Crew. I'm hoping that we might eventually get some DNA matches to provide us with the answers.

Andrew Millard said...

I did a bit more looking up on the Cheshire Crewe family. Eli who held Crewe Hall is not mentioned in Keats-Rohan's Domesday People, and Henry di Criwa is not in her Domesday Descendants.

The only reference I can find to Henry di Criwa and the charter he signed is in Ormerod's History. The English Place-Name Society volume on Cheshire cites that rather than the charter itself. All the references in the Wikipedia article on Crewe Hall trace back to Ormerod as their source. Whatever the c.1150 charter was that Ormerod cites, the original is not in the Crewe Family papers as the entry in the Royal Commission on Historic Manuscripts' Principal Family and Estate Collections: Family Names A-K for the Crewe family papers states that they start in the 13th century. However re-reading Ormerod it may be that there was a later transcript of the charter in the "collection of Crewe evidences" held by Lord Crewe. I suppose the family might still hold that collection, and if it is transcripts of documents relating to the family it may not have received any attention from the RCHM.

Debbie Kennett said...

Many thanks for undertaking this detective work. I had a look to see what else I could find and came up with a reference in the Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales which states that "The Crewes are traced from Henry de Criwa to Sir Randulph Crewe, from an illuminated pedigree by Dugdale in the possession of Lord Crewe…". I suspect the College of Arms would have the records but unfortunately they charge a small fortune for searches of their records. I've come across various references to Dugdale. I suspect he was a herald.

Andrew Millard said...

It sounds like the current heir of Lord Crewe might be the person to contact.

Debbie Kennett said...

It might take a while to find out what has happened to Lord Crewe's papers. He died in 1945 and was survived by three daughters, all of whom are now deceased:,_1st_Marquess_of_Crewe

Andrew Millard said...

Some information on his descendants, at least to grandchildren, is on A document by Dugdale would be listed in any catalogue under 17th century, so I might go back to the RCHM estate collections listing and see where the family's 17th century papers have gone.

Debbie Kennett said...

Many thanks Andrew. I've now managed to track down my Dugdale reference. It was one of the sources quoted by John Prince in ''The Worthies of Devon'' (1810). He cited it as Dugd. Bar. v.2, 149, &c. (The reference relates to an account of the exploits of Lord Walter Manny or Mauny in the Hundred Years War. Sir Robert Cruwys was believed to have served with Lord Manny and fought with him at the Battle of Crecy. The book is listed in COPAC as follows:

Dugdale, William, Sir, 1605-1686.
The baronage of England, or, An historical account ... of our English nobility in the Saxons time ... [until this present year 1676, etc.].

The only copy listed is at the University of London. This book might not of course include a pedigree for the Crewe family, but at least it provides some dates for Dugdale.

Andrew Millard said...

There seem to be quite a few copies of Dugdale's Baronage around - there are two in Durham. It is also available via Early English Books Online, where I looked at it. Pages 148-150 give an account of the life of Walter de Manny, but here is no Cruwys mentioned.

Debbie Kennett said...

Thanks Andrew. I can't access Early English Books Online but no doubt all these early books will eventually be freely available on Google Books or in the Internet Archive.

Unfortunately Prince (writing in 1810) does not tell us how he knows that Sir Robert Cruwys served with Walter Manny. He uses Dugdale to reconstruct Manny's exploits with the implication being that they were shared by Sir Robert:

"Whose father [Alexander] having greatly exhausted and incumbred his estate, this young gentleman [Sir Robert Cruwys] betook himself to the wars; which he chose rather to do, as became a man of honour; when by serving his King and country, he might get profit and renown abroad, than to lie rusting at home in sloth and luxury; and like a true bred English gentleman, however some effeminate beaus ridicule them by the name of grinning honours, and honourable scars, he rather sought danger than declined it; and having acquitted himself well, returned back to his native country with great reputation.

The scene on which he acted his part was France; and the general under which he served was that famous captain, the Lord Walter de Manny; who, tho’ a foreigner by birth, had a great estate in England, and some in Devonshire. For we are told, South-Huish, near King’s-bridge, was his, in the reign of K. Edw. 3 [1327-1377]. If we would then know what particular exploits our Sir Robert Cruwys was engaged in, we must enquire into the actions of that great commander; in most, if not all which, we may suppose him to have a share."

Karen Cruce said...

My name is Karen and I am a member of the Cruce family that came from Belfast area Ireland and landed in the 1770's. My line comes from Richard Cruce1, Isaac Newton Cruce2 etc. to Richard8 settled in Kentucky.You can find records in the South Carolina and I once heard Virginia. My grandfather Eugene originally gave this outline to the author from Mr Hosick. Go to "Outline of the Cruces" by Priscilla Montgomery, available online. I have been intriqued by the story of Mary Anne Cruys/Cruce/Cruise/Cruice/Cryws from Rathmore/Meath County and the romantic story associated with her name in Ireland. Do you have any information regarding the Irish clan? Let me know if I can be of assistance for more discovery in America. 812-457-0888. Thank you!
Karen Cruce-Smith

Debbie Kennett said...

Thanks Karen, I've e-mailed you separately. My work on the Irish Cruises is still in the early stages. I know from the DNA project that one Irish line is related to the Cruwys family of Cruwys Morchard in Devon. They were a Norman family who probably arrived in England in the mid-1100s. The other two Irish Cruise men who have taken the DNA test don't match anyone else in the project. The surname Cruce is now mostly found in America. It would be interesting to get an American Cruce to take a DNA test to see if they match any of the Irish testees.

Crista Crews said...

Hi all. My name is Crista Crews and we have traced our Ancestry to those namesakes from the 1200's. We live in the United States (West Virginia) and would love to know more about anything of our bloodlines.

Debbie Kennett said...

Hi Crista, Thanks for getting in touch. Can you perhaps contact me by e-mail and send details of your tree. I have information on various Crews lines in Virginia but it is not possible to make the link from Virginia to the UK, unless you have access to some source of which I was previously unaware.