Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gummer or Gummey

I can't say that I'm a great fan of the politician John Selwyn Gummer although I did applaud when he encouraged his young daughter to eat a nourishing beefburger during the CJD panic a few years ago. It's well known that Gummer's father was a South Walian but how many are aware that his family originated on the Radnorshire/Herefordshire border? Gummer's grandfather was born in Kington and his great-grandfather in Lyonshall, although to agricultural labouring Radnorshire parents from Old Radnor, who sensibly moved back over the border.

So who were these Gummers or Gumma as it is sometimes recorded in the census returns? For although the name is found elsewhere in England there is certainly a hotspot in the Presteigne and Kington areas. The obvious answer would be that it is derived from the Gumma farm on the road between Discoed and Presteigne, after all there's a Ieuan Voghan Gumma mentioned in a document dated 1481 and brought to light in E J L Cole's article Clandestine Marriages, The Awful Evidence From A Consistory Court, which appeared in the Radnorshire Society Transactions for 1976. Of course you can't be sure of such a connection without a lot more evidence and it's true that there are no Gummers in subsequent records such as the 1670 Hearth Tax. What you do find are names like Gummey, Gommey etc. which could, I suppose, be derived from another local placename Combe - there's a Rees Combe mentioned in Mr Cole's article along with his wife Deylee Wythell (I used to imagine that could be translated as Irish Deylee but it's more likely to be another local placename Weythell). Mr Cole considers that the name Agomey indeed means "of Gumma" so perhaps Baron Deben's roots are to be found in that particular farm after all.

Ramblings aside it is clear that the eastern fringe of Radnorshire - and it is very much a fringe in a county where the Welsh patronymic system predominated - did give rise to hereditary surnames derived from local villages and farms. I'll look at some of them later.


3 comments:

andy said...
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radnorian said...

Yes there are quite a few in the New Radnor/Presteigne area. In a bit of a rush so off the top of my head:

Hoddell, I'm not saying that the famous Glenn originated on this New Radnor farm but it certainly developed into a local surname.

Stones, from the Four Stones near was a local surname.

Maes Treylow gave rise to a number of local surnames Trillo, Traylor etc. It's possible the farm was named for the surname but probably the other way around

Bach/Bache is more likely to be derived from the Bage farm than the Welsh Bach at least in Radnorshire families.

Blackbach farm in Norton gave rise to surnames but seem to have died out.

Some others farms and villages that gave rise to English style surnames, not all having survived: Badland, Barland, Bilymore, Dyke, Gilla, Gore, Hargest/Hergest, Impton. Knill, Knoke, Nash, Norton, Radnor, Rodd, Slough, Weston and Whitton

radnorian said...

Oh dear accidently deleted Andy's comment - sorry about that. Asked if there were other examples of local farm names becoming surnames.

And re my comment below Four Stones is near Walton.