It has long since been established by other Anstey researchers that the patriarch of the Twillingate, Newfoundland, Canada Ansteys is Charles Anstey of Poole in Dorset, England, who inherited a plantation in Twillingate in the will of William White of Wimborne Minister, Dorset in the 1700s, and thence emigrated there. We are currently attempting to connect this ‘Charles Anstey of Poole, Dorset‘ into the known Dorset Anstey pedigree from 1500 to 1700, however we lack the definitive piece of evidence.
‘Charles’ is a fairly rare name for Ansteys in Dorset in the period 1500-1750, so if anybody has expert knowledge of this sub-branch, or finds any documentary evidence of a “Charles Anstey” in Dorset between say 1650 and 1750 (perhaps mentioned in wills of others), please contact me at email@example.com.
In the first three editions of ‘ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry‘, we stated that Hubert de Anstey owned Ham in Surrey. Our logic behind this was as follows: a) in 1141 Geoffrey de Mandeville was granted Anstey, Braughing and Ham manors as a package; b) in 1143, Anstey, Hertfordshire was taken off him and granted to Hubert the Anstey patriarch; c) Hubert also was granted Braughing; d) at the end of the 12th century descendants of Hubert owned Nutfield (right next door to Ham in Surrey) – as such we concluded e) that Anstey, Braughing and Ham manors must have been granted to Hubert as a package in 1143. However, we now know that Braughing was NOT granted to Hubert together with Anstey Manor in 1143; he received Braughing in exchange for Bendish. As such we have to conclude that in fact Hubert did NOT own Ham in Surrey.
The main source which will either advance, confirm or refute this tentative strand of research [the pre-Anstey ancestral pedigree] is the ‘Chartulary of St John the Baptist of Colchester (Roxburgh Club)’. Eudo the Dapifer founded the Abbey of St John the Baptist, Colchester at the end of the 11th century and the chartulary contains around three thousand of its charters. Unfortunately it is privately printed, written in Latin and not indexed by person; hence it is an enormous undertaking to sift through each and every one of the charters to piece together clues hidden therein… A thorough investigation of this source would obviously be of great benefit to this research strand, given that within the chartulary are numerously mentioned Hubert the Chamberlain (Hubert de Anstey), Gervase de Cornhill, his father Roger as well as other members of the family. It is only through a thorough investigation of these clues that our tentative pedigree can be made to stand on firmer genealogical ground.
We are pleased to announce that we have now found the ‘Chartulary of St John the Baptist of Colchester (Roxburgh Club)’ and are working through its contents which, with the aid of Google Translate, are not proving as indecipherable as first thought.
We will update the ‘Anstey Story‘ project with our findings …watch this space!
T. J. Anstey (Tom) wrote an article entitled ‘The Anstey Family’, which was published in the ‘South Gloucestershire Chronicle’ on either 3 or 4 January 1913. We have now uploaded Tom’s exquisitely researched article in full, ‘as is’, for posterity.
Richard the Clerk is a most important figure in our story, for he was the father of Hubert, who would later become the Anstey patriarch. Therefore Richard is the ‘great x 28’ grandfather of almost all Ansteys and Anstey descendants alive today (he is the ‘great x 28’ grandfather of co-author Gary). It was in around 1080 that Richard, later to be known as ‘Richard the Clerk’ was born; a Norman by birth, educated in France and destined for the Church.
After filling with credit a clerical post under the Seneschal of Normandy at Caen and in Norman Sicily, he sought a larger sphere of ambition at the English Court where he attached himself to the clerical leader, Roger le Poer. It is likely that Richard the Clerk made the journey from Normandy to England in about 1100, managing to secure a lucrative position in the Chancellorship working as a treasurer’s clerk at Winchester and Westminster. Even though this sounds a somewhat menial position today, it was actually a very high level Exchequer position, and Richard would have been handsomely paid via grants of land from the Crown.
 Most of what we know of Richard the Clerk comes from ‘Court Life Under The Plantagenets’ by Hubert Hall (see ‘Select Medieval Anstey Bibliography’ on page 301). On page 6 of his book, the author states that Richard the Clerk was the grandfather of Richard de Anstey (of the ‘Anstey Case’ – see Chapter Two), who we know was the son of Hubert the Anstey patriarch.
 It is via Roger le Poer that we get this estimate. Roger le Poer was originally a priest in a small chapel in Caen, Normandy and the story goes that when the future King Henry I happened to hear mass there one day, he was impressed by him and enrolled him into his service. When Henry I became King in 1100 he made Roger le Poer Chancellor of England, effectively running the country in his absence. Then in 1102 Roger le Poer became Bishop of Salisbury, so it is clear that he was permanently based in England from 1100 onwards. As Hubert Hall states clearly on page 5 of ‘Court Life Under The Plantagenets’, “Richard attached himself to the clerical leader Roger le Poer during the sharp struggle that took place in the first decade of the 12th century”, we can surely deduce with confidence that Richard the Clerk too arrived in England in about 1100. Incidentally Roger le Poer’s son, also Roger le Poer, was Chancellor for King Stephen from 1135 to 1139; it could well have been this connection that enabled Hubert the Anstey patriarch to obtain his position with King Stephen’s wife Matilda of Boulogne (see page 61)
We have begun to work on filling Tom’s Research page. Over the weeks and months ahead, we hope to upload a few of his early 20th century genealogical letters (which will appear on Tom’s Correspondence page) and other research of his, including his 1913 ‘The Anstey Family‘ article.
Of course we would also like to do this for other Anstey research from past times, and thus we draw attention once again to our ‘Appeal for Old Research Documents and Correspondence‘ in How Can You Help? .
See ‘Feet of Fines for Surrey’ where “Hubert de Anesti and Matilda his wife” were mentioned in a 1206 assize in relation to “Wissele” (Wiseley in Surrey where Matilda held lands). This was Matilda’s second marriage; she was the daughter of Gilbert de la Leghe of Effingham and Polesden in Surrey, and she held in her own right a manor in North Denchworth, Berkshire. Matilda first married Stephen de Camoys (Cameis), with whom she had a son Ralph. Ralph de Camoys was one of the Barons who fought with Hubert (II)’s son Nicholas against King John. Ancient Deed A1068 mentions both Ralph de Camoys and Hubert (II), his stepfather, in relation to Holy Trinity Priory, where it begins “Grant by Ralph de Cameis, at the petition of Hubert de Anesti, to the canons of Holy Trinity, London”
The evidently very close connection between the medieval Ansteys and the Camoys in the early 1200s could help us to piece together further research clues.
Hello and welcome to the ‘Anstey Story‘ project…we are now up and running! Of course it will take a week or three to get the skeletal structure of the website uploaded and functioning. Let me know if you see any glaring errors by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org