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Lyonshall Research

Lyonshall Research

Lyonshall Research
Lyonshall Research is geared to “Family Histories, Heritage (including buildings), and Genealogy. It also specialises in ‘local’ heritage walks centred on The Parish of Lyonshall.

Lyonshall Research operates on two levels:

  1. LOCAL: ‘History and Archaeology’, ‘Family Histories’, ‘Ownership of Property and Land’, ‘Railways, Railroads and Byways’, ‘Recommended Walks and Places of Interest’.
  2. WORLD WIDE: ‘UK Based Genealogical Research’, ‘Family Histories’.

Lyonshall Research aims to help you to explore your roots and investigate your ancestry from the comfort of your armchair. It will also try to persuade you to go and visit the places mentioned so that you can see for yourself. If that is impossible, due to distance or infirmity, we will try to send you a flavour of our shared heritage.

We can take you on a tour of the turbulent past where Kings and Queens, Barons and Brigands, Knights and Squires, Artisans and Serfs peopled this country. They all combine to make up OUR inheritance.

We can show you the effects of the “land enclosures” of the 1700s, the “Industrial Revolution” of the 1800s and the legacy left by the “Two World Wars” fought in the 1900s. Land ownership, architectural advances, agricultural inventions, industrial progress and the fluctuations of our economy have all been recorded somewhere…. We can help you find them out and possibly help to explain why some of our ancestors emigrated to the far corners of our world.

Tracing your past will be made more easy by whatever memories, letters, documents and family ‘myths’ you can lay your hands on and pass on to us. On these foundations we can build you a real and well documented record of the past.

Do not expect to be descended from “The GREAT and The GOOD”. We are not all the sons and daughters of historic icons. We are, however, all the descendants of “real people” from a “real world”. Let us help you find out.

Family History:

Tracing your family history is not as easy as you might think.  Many “Parish Records” in England and Wales were destroyed at the time of ‘The Reformation’ (1536-39 AD)  and  the ‘English Civil War’ (1642-51).  Many Irish records were severely damaged or destroyed in the ‘Irish Civil War’ of the 1920s.

The first accurate census of England & Wales was in 1841 and all subsequent census records are available up until 1901 (some of the 1911 records have been released but not all of them are ‘on-line’ yet).  All Census records are held in secret for 100 years but there are other legitimate ways to find your family.  Some of them are:

  • Land holdings, Gravestones and Memorials, Wills or Legal Documents, Private Letters, The National Archives, Naval and Military Records, “Birth, Marriages and Death” Records, “Emigration Records” (including passenger lists from the ships),Websites (but these should be treated with caution) and ‘local myths‘ :- You MIGHT be surprised how often these “old wives’ tales” lead to a true story.


Not all of the above records are reliable however and some people have chosen todisguise their past.  We can try to help you to unravel a few of the mysteries but some may evade even our scrutiny!

Property & Land:

The “OWNERSHIP” of land in England was not of major importance before 1066 AD and The “Norman Conquest” but in 1086 King William I comissioned the ‘Domesday Book’ which listed every farm and home in his Kingdom by ‘value’. All land was assumed to be owned by “The Crown”. King Henry VIII had every “Religious Holding” evaluated between 1536 and 1539 and Queen Elizabeth I began a similar system to evaluate the “landholdings” of her Kingdom but it was never completed.

The most comprehensive record of land and property was conducted in 1840 which produced the “Apportionment” of 1841. This listed every field, meadow, wood, pasture and property in England and Wales that was subject to “tithe” taxation by The Church of England. It showed also the name and number of every field and named the property owner. Those people who rented their land or were ‘tenants’ were not recorded. The first complete ‘Ordnance Survey” was conducted in 1890. Roads, byways, footpaths and bridle paths were shown on the 1840 and 1896 maps.

We can help you to link back to your “real roots” in English soil!

Railways & Byways:

The byways of England date back to The Bronze Age (2,400 BC) but the first proper metalled roads were built by The Romans (43-409 AD). Many of these were used by The Anglo-Saxons with a few notable additions but the Norman Conquest of 1066 led to more roads being constructed to link major towns and castles. It was the ‘Industrial Revolution’ that made the construction of canals, tramways and eventually Railways essential for commercial reasons.

Lyonshall is a good example with the roads linking Hereford, Ludlow and Brecon with their Norman Garrisons. Lyonshall Castle was the meeting point for these major routes. The Kington to Brecon ‘tramroad’ was built in 1796 to carry stone from the quarries to the iron works at Merthyr Tydfil and return with coal. When this proved inefficient it was replaced with a Railway in 1862. The Kington to Eardisley Railway was in part a “vanity project’ by the local landowners and the Great Western Railway ‘bailed it out’ in 1875. It finally closed in 1940 but the Leominster to Kington and Presteigne lines ran through the Parish until 1964.

Railway history is a fascinating and rewarding study of England’s social development.

Recommended Walks:

Recommended Walks in England and Wales are best followed using the standard Ordnance Survey maps. They are some of the finest maps in the World and are not subject to loss of power or “no signal”!

The Lyonshall area of north west Herefordshire is criss-crossed by public footpaths, bridleways and minor roads, as well as two good ‘A’ Class roads for easy access. In the North of the Parish it links to “The Offa’s Dyke Path”. “Mortimer Trail’ and “The Herefordshire Trail”. The Parish boasts a number of good and ‘historic’ B&Bs and one old “Pub” in a good central location. The “Royal George Inn” dates from late Elizabethan times and was originally a Cider House. The ‘postcode’ for the geographical centre of the Parish of Lyonshall is is HR5 3LL.

The Parish can boast its own “Offa’s Dyke Spur” (which is in excellent condition in parts), a Norman church (much restored in Victorian times), a Norman stone built castle ( a ‘Romantic Ruin’ now), numerous medieval dwellings and some fine ‘Black & White’ houses. The countryside and cider apple orchards are beautiful in the ever changing seasons.

We are happy to recommend walks, within the local area, to suit every age and taste and we can advise on accommodation and bookings etc on a ‘no cost’ basis. We are happy to produce schematic, tailor made maps [see above] to explain a recommended walk as well as custom made leaflets showing photographs and giving descriptions of the sights to be seen en route. These can be despatched electronically or by Royal Mail on request. For more information on Lyonshall and its area we recommend its Village Website: www.lyonshall.net

If we fail we will tell you why – but we will do our best to satisfy your curiosity.

01544 340218
07855 393299
The Old Station
Lyonshall, Nr. Kington
Herefordshire
HR5 3LL
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