Blencowe Families’ Association Newsletter Vol. 23 No. 4 November 2008

Were Adam’s ancestors Norman, Scottish or Egyptian?

A letter from Jan and Derek Moore tells how, with Colin Hinks, they visited a museum in Dunedin, Zealand and found a parchment on the name Blenco which was displayed at the reunion.

The Blenco Motto on the coat of arms translates as: Wherefore live to die. The poster states we go back to 1066, and that Adam de Blencow, his full name being John Fitz Adam de Blencow of Greystoke, using the Norman vernacular, in about 1350, was standard bearer to William, Baron of Greystoke in that shire. Within the next century, his sons, Thomas and John Blencow acquired Little Blencowe and Dacre in Cumberland, establishing the two main branches of the family name. His great grandson, John Blencow, acquired interests in Worcestershire, and in Marston St. Lawrence, Northamptonshire. This latter branch became the senior line of the family name. Estates at Thoby Priory in Essex, and Hooke in Sussex were also acquired. Notable amongst the family in the 1600s was Sir John Blencowe of Marston.

Adam was not a Norman. The name Blenco was found in Cumberland where they held a seat for many centuries, before the Norman Conquest of England by the Duke William of Normandy 1066AD. The name Blenco is thought to be descended originally from the Strathclyde Britons. They were a mixture of Gaelic/Celts, whose territories ranged from Lancashire in the south to the south bank of the Clyde in Scotland, from 400 A.D. to 900 A.D.

Interestingly the Blenco tartan is said to be the Greystoke tartan.

Jan & Derek Moore

Over the years there have been many theories on the origins of the Blencowes of Blencow, the most common being that Adam de Blencow's ancestors arrived at about the time of the Norman Conquest.

In the last newsletter archaeological evidence shows that the Hall predates the 1590 above the door by some time and had a legacy as a fortified site before the building as we know it. The exact travels of our family to Cumbria are lost in time, so they are all conjecture. The following will add to the debate!

In 1978 a chance meeting took place between Wilfred Blencowe and an archaeologist or anthropologist researching ancient family names. In the period of English history to which he was referring, family names only existed in special families who were from a long line of Non-English families. He'd discovered that the early Blencowes had fled to the north of England from the Languedoc area of southern France, during the time of the Albigensians and the Cathars.

The word Languedoc refers to a group of people with foreign speech who settled in the south of France originally fleeing from Palestine and Israel. They were people who had gathered around Mary Magdalene and Joseph of Arimathea, escaping from the Roman suppression of the early Christian Israelites. They had a rather unacceptable idea of ‘Christianity’ which led to the Albigensian Crusades of the 13th century, led by the Pope.

The archaeologist believed that family names only existed in pre-Christian Egypt, of people associated with the priestly castle and so he concluded that over many centuries, the Blencowe family had migrated from Egypt during the time of religious insurrections there, through Palestine and Israel to the south of France and eventually to the north of England to find sanctuary from the Papal suppression.

Anne Burton

updated: 26 January 2009