What do an astrophysicist in Hawaii, USA, and a cabinet maker in NSW, Australia have in common? Read on to find out.
Once Upon A Time
He cut an impressive figure as he rode into the marketplace of Lancashire on that day, dressed as he was in a royal blue doublet, white ruffled shirt and hose, silver buttons and buckles flashing in the late winter sunshine. Dismounting from his horse with a flourish, he doffed his tricorne hat to the gawping crowd, produced a scroll seemingly from nowhere, cleared his throat, and let fly:
'Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Let it be known that, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Six Hundred and Four, Our Gracious Majesty King James granted the Vaccaries of Lentworth, Emmetts and Tarnbrook, situated in Wyresdale, County of Lancaster, to Charles Blount, Eighth Lord Mountjoy and Earl of Devon.
And, further, let it be known that his Lordship now wishes to dispose of these pasture-lands for the benefit of the People of the County, to the purpose of which there will be a Grand Auction, here in this City of Lancaster, on the Third Day of March in this Year of Our Lord, One Thousand and Six, at Eleven of the clock in the Forenoon.
Yea, let all who wish draw nigh on that day at that time.
God Save The King.'
With which he doffed his hat in farewell, remounted and galloped off into the distant blue yonder. In the crowd, two men turned to one another, smiled and shook hands. 'Now,' said one, 'we have a chance to find and fulfill our destiny.' 'Aye, a grand chance,' said the other.
'Come, brother, let us away and carry the good news to father.' So saying, they turned away, determined that on the appointed day they would somehow acquire the 'chance'.
Farfetched perhaps - but the fact remains that sometime between April 1606 and 1611, whether through auction or more indirectly, the brothers Lawrence and William Pye of Forton or Garstang became freeholders in the neighbouring vaccaries of Emmetts and Tarnbrook,pasture-lands which had been granted to Charles Blount in 1604 by King James. They gave the same names to the farms they established. For those interested in the locality, there is a river in Lancashire called the Wyre. It runs in part through a valley appropriately named Wyresdale where it is joined by two tributaries known as the Tarnbrook Wyre and Marshaw Wyre. The road from Lancaster to Clitheroe also passes through Wyresdale. In the early 1600s, in the confluence of these tributaries before they conjoined with the main river, lay the Vaccary of Emmetts, some 546 acres. On the other side of the Tarnbrook Wyre was the Vaccary of Tarnbrook.
Lawrence Pye, then, was First of the Emmetts. He and his wife Annie (Tomlinson) who he married in 1606 had seven children; of these there were three sons who grew to maturity - John, who inherited the farm, William (moved to Ribchester) and James (died in Goosenargh). It isn't known whether James had any issue but his brothers most certainly did. In my database, John's descendants number over 500 and William's about 50.
Lawrence's family has grown apace, one might say. His descendants have lived in at least 85 locations in England and ranged as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, Central and South Africa, the United States, France, Finland, Portugal, the former East Indies. Their occupations were/are as varied - farmers, textile spinners and weaviers,cabinet makers, shopkeepers, publicans, drivers and carters, butchers and greengrocers,journalists, landscapers, blacksmiths, hatters, soldiers, sailors and airmen, to name but a few.
Let us take two 'downlines' of John's. The first begins with a great-grandson, Lawrence Pye of Top of Emmetts, baptised 1731 died 1793. He married twice and had two sons and two daughters by his second wife, Ann Lambert. A great-grandson, Joseph of Lower Emmetts (believed to be on or near the site of the original farm) was baptised in 1847 and died 1921. In 1872 he married Catherine Gifford and they raised seven sons and three daughters. A great-great-grandson of theirs, John of Hawaii, is an astrophysicist. In terms of locations, this downline runs Emmetts, Dunkenshaw, Top of Emmetts, Tarnbrook, Lower Emmetts, California,Hawaii.
The second downline is more convoluted - Emmetts, Fair Snape, Waddington, Chipping, Accrington, Blackburn, Eccles, Australian Capital Territory, Snowy Mountains NSW. It begins with another great-grandson of John Pye, 2nd of the Emmetts, also named John but of Waddington. He was born about 1725, died 1799. He and his wife Ellen Hyde raised three sons and four daughters. A grand-daughter of his, Margaret Pye of Chipping (baptised 1812, died 1878), bore three illegitimate sons, one of whom was called James. (Except for one generation, there has been a James in this family branch ever since.) One of her great-grandsons was James of Accrington who was my father. He was born in about 1891, died 1955. He married a milliner, Sarah Duckworth, in Blackburn in 1923; they had two sons, two daughters. My older brother (James, died 1996) named his only son 'James'. He is married to a Finnish lady and they live in Helsinki; their first-born, a son, arrived on Dec 27th last year and, naturally,his name is James!
Oh, I almost forgot - aside from being sixth cousins, twice removed, the astrophysicist and the cabinet maker have another thing in common - they are both on Sandy (Pye) Smith's mailing list - which is how they came to meet!