There is a reference to a “Richard of Anstey” being married to Mabel in the 1250 ‘Henry III Fine Rolls’ which states:
“24 May . Windsor. Because otherwise below. Mabel, who was the wife of Richard of Anstey, gives the king 300 m. for the custody of the lands and heirs of the same Richard, to have until the lawful age of the same heirs together with the marriage of the same. The king has granted to the same Mabel that she may render 50 m. of the aforesaid 300 m. at the Exchequer of Michaelmas in the thirty-fourth year, 50 m. at the Exchequer of Easter next following, and 100 m. thus from year to year at the same terms until etc.”
In the first three editions of ‘ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry‘ (in footnote 309) we dismissed it as “we believe this entry should be read in the form ‘Richard [surname] of [village of] Anstey’, therefore an Anstey imposter and a genealogical red herring (see Appendix Three: ‘Notes For Medieval Anstey Researchers’).”
Whilst researching for the fourth edition of ‘ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry‘, we took another long look at this clue and were actually leaning somewhat to the possibility of him being a genuine medieval Anstey. However, we then looked at the original Fine Roll (which is available for viewing online here) and the original roll clearly spells “Anesy”, not “Anesty” (the lesson here being to always look at the primary source if at all possible).
Furthermore, there is another entry right next to it in the same ‘Henry III Fine Roll’ (membrane 9) mentioning the same gentleman, which is this time correctly transcribed as “Richard de Anesy”. Finally, in ‘Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, File 10’ #197 we found the 1250 Inquisition Post Mortem of “Richard de Anesy alias Daneseye. Writ to Henry de Wengham and his co-escheator in co. Wilts, 15 April, 34 Hen. III. Richard, his son, aged 12, is his heir.”
So finally, it is certain that “Richard de Anstey” of the 1250 ‘Henry III Fine Roll’ is an ‘Anstey imposter’; we were right all along in the first three editions of our first book, but for the wrong reason. Of course all of these findings will appear in the fourth edition of ‘ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry‘ when it is published.
As we have said before, weeding out ‘Anstey imposters’ is just as important as finding new information on genuine medieval Ansteys if we want our ancestral story to be as accurate as possible!