I knew I had some ancestors with D'Arcy as a middle or even first name, but none I would immediately say - 'yes, feature them'. They were connected to my Harry and Wareham branches and hadn't really featured in their own right. I decided I would feature the earliest D'Arcy I had and see if I could find something out about him which I could write.
I already had 6 consecutive generations with D'Arcy as one of their names from current day right back to 1773 (see summary on the left) so it must have been an old family name of standing. The earliest of these was Judge Thomas D'Arcy. Having 'Judge' as a first name was certainly unusual and there must be a story there, I thought. He was only on my tree as the father of Jane Joanna D'Arcy in her marriage to a George Harry (a distant relation on my adopted fathers tree). I had never been particularly interested in her father, so it was without expectation that I put his name in the search engine to see if he came up.
Unbelievably, I discovered that Judge Thomas D'Arcy is at the end of a very long line of D'Arcy's going right back to William the Conqueror and possibly before. As I have learnt to my cost, the further you go back on the tree the less and less accurate it will become - mostly because the records just aren't there and you tend to jump to conclusions where the place and the date fits, even though you know there isn't really any firm evidence to substantiate the assumption. Therefore, what I found, although based on truth, may not be the whole truth. Having said that, it is damned interesting !
It seems, their great grandson, Norman de Adreci, served in William the Conqueror’s army during their successful victory over the Saxons at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and he was rewarded with thirty three lordships in Lincolnshire as well as the wealthy Abbey of St Mary in York. (source : www.turtlebunbury.com/darcy/index.html).
Other researchers have suggested the D’Arcy line goes even further back to medieval times to Charlemagne who is still sometimes referred to as the “Father of Europe” (about 747 to 814).
What is indisputable is that Norman de Adreci is recorded in the Doomsday Book in 1086. The family coat of arms is shown below. According to sources on the web, and I really take this with a pinch of salt, he was the 27th great grandfather of Prince Charles and Winston Churchill. I can assure you I have no intention of proving or disproving this !
- He was born on 8th September 1773 in Corbetstown, Ireland
- He married Elizabeth Sheppard in May 1799
- In 1809 his daughter, Jane Joanna D'Arcy, was born in Oystermouth, Worcestershire
- He signed the marriage declaration of Jane Joanna D'Arcy in 1839 in the Parish Church at Ashford Carbonell, Shropshire
- 1854 : he was promoted from Captain to Brevet Major in the 4th Veteran Battalion
- He died in Swansea, May 1862, aged 88