Friday 20 January 2012

Out of Their Trees - Will Young Part 2

Happy Birthday Will Young.

In November I looked at the ancestry of singer Will Young. I ended by revealing he is descended from the Baskervilles. Here is his line of descent to Will’s great-great-great-grandparents, Sir Henry and Lady Augusta Young.

Thomas Baskerville of Richardston, Wiltshire
Anne Baskerville
m. John Polwhele of Polwhele, Cornwall, MP., d.c.1670
John Polwhele of Polwhele
Richard Polwhele of Polwhele
Grace Polwhele
m. Humphrey Millet of Enys, Cornwall
Rev. Humphrey Millet, 1745-1774
Grace Millet, 1772-1868
m. Charles Short of Kenton, Devon
Caroline Short, 1805-1865
m. Charles Marryat of Potter’s Bar, Middlesex, 1802-1884
Augusta Marryat, 1829-1913
m. Sir Henry Young, 1803-1870,
Governor of Tasmania

Thomas Baskerville of Richardston was the great-grandson of Sir Walter Baskerville of Eardisley Castle, Herefordshire. The family had lived there since the Domesday Book of 1086. I’ve drawn their coat of arms for you. The crest is interesting – a golden wolf’s head – the original Hound of the Baskervilles? But where exactly does Sherlock Holmes fit in?
Even though “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is set on Dartmoor, Baskerville Hall is a real place near Eardisley Castle, and Arthur Conan Doyle was a family friend. An old Baskerville legend tells of an ancestor and his hell-hound that haunt the hills near Baskerville Hall. But there are also legends of black hell-hounds all over England, including Dartmoor.

Not far from Baskerville Hall is the ruined Stapleton Castle (the Stapleton’s were neighbours of Sherlock’s Baskervilles). Also in the area are lands once owned by the powerful Mortimer family, ancestors of the Baskervilles (a character called Dr. Mortimer, also a Baskervilles neighbour, introduces Sherlock to the legend). I’m not claiming Conan Doyle got all his ideas from Will Young’s Baskerville ancestors, but they must have contributed, especially their names which don’t occur together on Dartmoor.

Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, goes down in lgbt history as a real villain. He murdered King Edward II (one of the “Queens” of England, and Will’s ancestor via the Beauforts) and seized power. His tyranny ended at Nottingham Castle, where an underground passage now called Mortimer’s Hole is said to have been the route through which he was captured.

Nottingham Castle also links Will Young to Robin Hood. Roger Mortimer’s great-nephew, Sir William Neville, was constable of the castle. In an earlier post I described how I believe that Neville’s partner, Sir John Clanvowe, wrote the oldest surviving Robin Hood ballad.

Neville was also Keeper of Sherwood Forest, a royal position given to several members of his family after it was taken from the Everinghams. Will Young descends from the Everinghams through the Baskervilles. They were Hereditary Keepers of Sherwood Forest from 1231 when Robert de Everingham married Isabel de Birkin. Her ancestors had been the original Keepers, the first being her great-great-grandfather Robert de Caux who died around 1129.

Oh, and I haven’t forgotten. I promised to link Will Young to Old King Cole. Let’s go back to Sir Walter Baskerville. His wife Elizabeth descends several times over from some ancient Welsh royal dynasties who can trace their ancestry back to King Coel Hen of North Britain. Coel died around 430 AD, and his name “Hen” means “old”. He has come down to us as Old King Cole.

… and finally… If you think today’s post looks different it’s because I thought this font was most appropriate. It’s called Baskerville, named after John Baskerville (1706-1773), the typographer who invented it. John is probably descended from the same Baskervilles as Will.

And that’s Will Young’s ancestry. Almost. I haven’t even started on his mother’s ancestry yet! And I wish I had time to tell you about Will’s descent from Lady Godiva. Perhaps after he rides naked through the streets of Coventry I will! Over to you Will!

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