A file "Middle English Spelling" is an excerpt from "The History Of the English Language", by Crystal. It provides discussion for the variations in spelling which we have encountered such as Helme. and Elme which are sometimes taken to be the same. To view this file click here. Click the return key at the end of the file to return here.
Comments on it have been:
The explanation of the Helmes spelling may not be so deep.
One problem was that not everyone could read and write and they tended to write phonetically. The Monks were the most well educated and they knew how to spell Helme. Everyone educated by them could spell Helme. The problem came around the time of the Reformation (1529 onwards) when the Church of England took over and the majority of Catholic priests refused to embrace Protestantism. As a result, Vicars were hurriedly recruited to take their place, many of them totally uneducated and they couldn't read or write.
In the Gillingham registers, the same family name is spelt Helme and Elmes. It all depended on who was writing it down. For this reason we should try to treat Helme and Elmes as synonymous.
In one Lancashire Helmes family, the name has been spelt Helm, Helme, Helmn, Helman, Elm and Ellam. The last spelling, Ellam was a surprise, but the person who filled out the death certificate must have been a Yorkshire man and that was the way he spelt it. The correct spelling of Helme appeared on the gravestone Helman appeared on one census.
Father Germanus Helme also has (Holmes) in brackets after his name.
Catholic church registers in Lancashire and the Anglican registers in Barbados Record Office all say for Helme read Holmes and vice versa. This is because the person who transcribed the original hand writing couldn't differentiate between an e and an old English o. However, the Hulme and Holmes spellings are not usually misunderstood as Helmes.
In Lancashire dialect, people would call someone Helme "Elm" and Holmes "Omes". They leave the 'h' out of everything.
There was a period when the original surnames were being established which was not a thorough process affecting all related families. Not every one would have been a "free man" then and be dignified by having a last name. Most may have simply been like: "John, barber of Preston"- whatever his eventual last name may have gravitated to - maybe Preston in that case., if and when he broke out of the manorial system.
They commented that they had never come across any of them in the whole of Lancashire, but would keep a look out for them when they went outside of the county. They could not identify any of the heraldry contained therein, ie links with prominent Lancashire families. They thought that some of them were fairly recent, ie last couple of hundred years.
With regards spelling of surnames in England, the Fieldens are an old manorial Lancashire/Yorkshire family. Their name is also spelt Fieldin and Fielding. They are the same. They were slaving on Jamaica and could have met up with the Helmes in the Caribbean or the USA. Holden and the name is also spelt Holdin and Holding; again, they are one and the same.
Perhaps it was the transfer from Olde Englishe to modern English or the fact that people couldn't spell properly and wrote down what they thought they heard.
See also discussion in "Other Helm/Helms, etc" in the Helms Website.
This begins with the Henry Fishwick historical account.
History of the Parochial Chapelry of Goosnargh in the County of Lancaster by Henry Fishwick, Page 141 Chapter X, Old Halls and Old Families Middleton Hall
There is a local tradition that here was formerly a small chapel attached to the house, should there by any truth in this, we should say that it had reference to the oratory for which Thomas Singleton had a licence granted 27 July 1448 (Reg Archbishop Kempe, York). This oratory is described as in Goosnargh, and at that date there was no branch of the Singleton family living in the township except the one at Middleton. In 1494_5, a Roger Singleton was living there, who was probably a descendant of one of the Roger Singletons of Brockhalls, and on the death of himself and his wife, the house and certain lands became the endowment of Goosnargh chantry. Middleton (as the hall was then called) could not at this time have been a place of any great pretension, as in 1535 it was estimated at the annual value of 2L 10s 4d (see Page 14) and from the death of Roger Singleton to the dissolution of the chantries was no doubt the dwelling place of the priest for the time being.
On the 23rd February 1549, Edward VI, in consideration of 731L 18s 8d paid to the King's Treasurer, granted to William of Eccleston and William Layton, gentlemen (amongst other chantry lands) all the messuage and lands "belonging to the late chantry in the parish church of Goosnargh, now dissolved, and which are now in the occupation of Roger Byrch, the said Eccleston and Layton and their assigns to hold the same for ever of the king as of his manor of Clitheroe in free soccage", a certain rent charge of 5s 2d out of the lands called Middleton to be paid annually to Sir Richard Houghton and another of 5s 6d to Thomas Catterall, esq (of Little Mitton _ see pedigree). The Middleton property very soon afterwards was conveyed to Robert Helme of Goosnargh, who by will bequeathed it to his two younger sons, George and Henry Helme, to the great annoyance of their eldest brother, Thomas, who in consequence had a suit at law with his mother, but from which he did not derive any advantage (Calendar to Pleadings, 4 Elizabeth). Shortly after this (in 9 Elizabeth) the two Helmes had to appeal to the Chancellor of the Duchy against Thomas Tyldesley, the son and heir of Edward Tyldesley of Morleys, who it appears had by some means not only got possession of the title_deeds, but had entered into possession of the messuage and premises, and had arranged to let them for a term of years to Gilbert Tyldesley, alleging that the estate had descended to him through Anne Tyldesley his mother, who was the sister and heiress of Robert Leyland, whose father, Thomas Leyland, deceased, had been lawfully seized of the premises, and denying that King Edward VI had ever held Middleton, or that it had formed part of the possessions of Goosnargh chantry, and even asserting that there never had been a chantry endowed with the said lands and premises (Duchy Records _ see appendix). With such an unblushing defence as this, it is not to be wondered at that the verdict was for the plaintiffs.
In the year 1569_70 (12 Elizabeth) Alice Helme, the mother
of George and Henry Helm, is the defendant in a dispute with Thomas
Layton respecting lands at Goosnargh, which he claims to have inherited
from Anthony Layton his father, deceased; but in this case the lady having
won the experience which is deemed so weighty has the deeds in a bag,
and she is summoned to show why she possessed them (Calendar to Pleadings,
The family appears now to have become in some degree involved in pecuniary difficulties, as from the document just quoted we find that George Helme, son (above referred to) acknowledges before the King's bench that he was indebted to his son, George Helme, jun of London, pandoxeter (a brewer) deceased, to the amount of 50L and this sum not being forthcoming, the sheriff is ordered to take possession of his body and keep him in prison until he shall discharge his debt, now claimed by Helene Helme, widow and administratrix to George Helme, Jun., who died intestate. Very shortly after this the estate was sold, and thus passed into the hand of Alexander Rigby, whose descendants own it at the present time.
From the parish books we find that Alexander Rigby was rated for lands in Goosnargh in1625 and from an initial cut on the oak screen in Middleton Chapel it appears he had possession as early as 1622; but it is not certain which Alexander Rigby is meant, as the father of Baron Rigby (also Alexander) died seized of his lands in this parish......... end of quote.
Conkwright wrote that Thomas Helme lived there in 1642, left sons Leonard, William, and John.
From the above, this does not seem to be true.
Visitation refers to a visit by the Herald who visited a county to check the pedigrees of the gentry families and their coats of arms. If their pedigrees were found to be imperfect like the Goosnargh Helmes, they lost their coats of arms and could not have private armies. The suspicion is that the Herald had discovered the Goosnargh Helmes Catholic position. and /or the Helmes had by then vanished, because of that issue.
Is a special place as it is the home of Princess Diana. It is derived from Domesday, Olletorp. Main landowners : Count of Mortain and William Peveral. Later became Althorp Park, a Tudor house transformed by Henry Holland. It is the ancestral home of the Spencer family, to which the late Princess of Wales belongs.
There is close proximity of the Northamptonshire Helmes to Althorpe (pronounced Altrup). These Helmes must have known the Spencers. The Spencers of Cople could be an off shoot of the Althorpe Spencers.
Emes were present in that area, for instance, RICHARD TRYST OF MAIDFORD in co Northampt living 1619 and died in the year 1647 circa 76 years. Batp 18 Oct 1571 at Maidford. He married Ursula dau of Tho DUNCOMBE of East Claydon in county Bucks. They had several children and Anna who became the wife of JOHN ELMES of the family of ELMES of Lilford in county Northampt. father of RICHARD ELMES of Stow in County Hunt (Huntingdonshire). She was bapt 11 Apr 1613 at Maidford. (so this links yet another Elme branch).
Families intermarried with the Trysts were COLES, DUNCOMBE, MERVIN, PELL, CHAUNCY, LISLE, JENISON, SKINNER, CITIZEN, GREEN, NABBS, COLLIN, BARKER, WEST, NOTE THE WEST CONNECTION.
The Elmes - Spencer connection can be shown from the will of NICOLAS SPENCER of Cople, Bedfordshire, Esq 10 January 1625, which was proved 17 February 1625. mentions Sir Oliver Luke of Hawnes, Beds, knight, Sir MYLES FLEETWOOD of London, knight, THOMAS ELLMES of Norton in the Count of Northamptonshire Esq and WILLIAM ELLMES Esq son and heir apparent of the said THOMAS ELLMES, The will left a gift of 20 shillings to his father-in-law THOMAS ELLMES ESQ and his brother- in- law WILLIAM ELLMES Esq (and others) twenty shillings apiece.
The Will of CHRISTIAN (Christiana) ELMES of Green's Norton, in the County of Northampton, widow, late wife of THOMAS ELMES of Green's Norton Esq, deceased, 12 Oct 1632, was proved 5 May 1635. Her sons WILLIAM ELMES of Lileford, Northampton, Esq., THOMAS ELMES of Warmington, and ANTHONY ELMES of Fawsely were mentioned in the will. Also mentioned in the will was GRACE ELMES the wife of ANTHONY and daughter of SIR ROBERT BEVILL of Chesterton, Hunts, knight of the Bath.
Others mentioned were: her eldest daughter MARY SPENCER of Cople, Bedfordshire, widow; her daughter MARTHA DACRES, LADY, the wife of SIR THOMAS DACRES of Chesthunt, Herts., knight; her daughter ELIZABETH HAWFORD, wife of WILLIAM HAWFORD of Wellam, Leic.; her daughter, ALICE FOUNTAINE, wife of THOMAS FOUNTAINE of Hampton, Northampton, Esq.; and her daughter, the LADY FRANCES HESILRIGGE, wife of SIR ARTHUR HESILRIGGE of Nosely, Leic, Bart.
Herewith the Spencer connection:
In a codicil he refers to his brother JOHN as JOHN SPENCER of Woodend in the parish of Cople, gent and to ELIZABETH WYNNE (evidently the wife of the said JOHN). A legacy to John the son of the said John.
WILL OF CHRISTIAN ELMES of Green's Norton, in the Co of Northampton, widow, late wife of THOMAS ELMES of Green's Norton Esq lately deceased, 12 Oct 1632, proved 5 May 1635. Her sons WILLIAM ELMES of Lileford, Northampton, Esq., THOMAS ELMES OF Warmington, and ANTHONY ELMES of Fawsely were mentioned. Also mentioned was GRACE ELMES the wife of ANTHONY and daughter of SIR ROBERT BEVILL of Chesterton, Hunts, knight of the Bath.
Others mentioned were: her eldest daughter MARY SPENCER of Cople, Bedfordshire, widow, her daughter MARTHA DACRES, LADY, the wife of SIR THOMAS DACRES of Chesthunt, Herts., knight; her third daughter ELIZABETH HAWFORD, wife of WILLIAM HAWFORD of Wellam, Leic.; her daughter, ALICE FOUNTAINE, wife of THOMAS FOUNTAINE of Hampton, Northampton, Esq., and her daughter, the LADY FRANCES HESILRIGGE, wife of SIR ARTHUR HESILRIGGE of Nosely, Leic, Bart.
No Elmes or Helmes were found at the Abbey. The verger look them up in his alphabetical list of Monument Inscriptions,.without finding any.
One item of interest is In memory of the Rt Hon Lady Charlotte MADAN,
2nd dau of Charles, Earl Cornwallis and the sister of the present Marquis.
Her ladyship was married in 1756 to the REV SPENCER MADAN D: D: now Bishop
of Peterborough by whom she had 2 sons and 1 dau. [This is the same Madan
family found in the Caribbean _ one of them was Bishop of Peterborough.
These Madans were from Ireland).
DOWDING THORNHILL Esq late of the island of Barbados died 16 Sep 1826
In memory of EDWARD JESUP Esq of Writtle Park in Essex. A man of strict honour and probity who died 24 March 1770 aged 76. [this branch was related to the Gillingham Helmes]
Near this place lies interred the body of MARTIN MADAN Esq., Lieut Col of his Majesty's Own Regiment of Horse, during the late Wars in Flanders and Groom of the Bedchamber to his Royal Highness Frederick, Prince of Wales. He married JUDITH, only dau of the HON SPENCER COWPER, late one of the Justices of the Court of Common Pleas, and Chief Justice of Chester by whom he had 7 sons and daughters. Died 4 May 1756 Aged 55 years.
SKEETE of Barbados
ROUSE of Blenheim House, Southampton, Hants
The following three counties are incidentally mentioned in other parts of this paper:
Dorset Hearth Tax lists some Elmes.
The Weld family were the richest in the whole of Dorset and their family seat was at Lulworth Castle on the south coast of Dorset. They were also one of the largest land owners in Lancashire together with the Hoghtons, Sherburns (Shireburns) and Stanleys (the Stanleys owned most of the Isle of Man and had estates in Scotland). The Welds remained staunch Catholics after the Reformation and had their own large private army. They were such a formidable force that Lulworth Castle was never taken.
Fr Francis Holme/Helme, SJ, the priest at Lulworth, 1755, had an alias of HOWARD- no doubt this was one of the Goosnargh Helmes. Edward Weld II m. Juliana Petre in 1763. Juliana was the daughter of Lord Petre whose family seat was just north of Blackburn in Lancashire. Henry Weld emmigrated to Baltimore, USA.
The Weld children were educated overseas, attending the same European schools and universities as were the Goosnargh Helme children. According to Mrs Williamson, Mrs Mary Traveis widow deceased had two children: William Helmes and Mary Helmes which were in Europe and underage that meant that this particular branch of the family were Catholic without a doubt.
For reference, The Gillingham Local History Society, whose Prog. Secretary is Mr D. J. Lloyd, is located at: The Orchard Wyke Road Gillingham Dorset SP8 4NH Tel: 01747 823507 Notes show James Gifford as associated with the Helmes. James Gifford was a surgeon in St George's Hospital, (London?). Among those prominently identified with the Helmes/Elmes were: George Cox, William Crouch (Yeoman of Gillingham) - both related to the Helmes. George Whitchurch, From, Zolwood, County of Somerset, who sold land to George Cox. in 1733, and George Cox, was grandson and heir of Thomas HILL deceased. George asked to resume his tenant rights to Newberry in the Manor of Gillingham
The Helmes also owned land in Salisbury (Wiltshire county - next to Dorset).
Other records show that James GIFFORD, apothecary of Gillinghame borrowed
££1,700 from John Clark of Capham, co Surrey in1829. The Clarks
were related to the Helmes).
DEEDS INFORMATION FOR GILLINGHAM
A Messuage at Newborough near Woollands Gate (later called Newberry
House), was sold by Mr Gifford in 1831.
Dorset Emigrants 1620 - 1650
James Snook, who is related to the Gillingham Helmes, was on the ship
Fifehead Magdalen to Weymouth, Mass. And a Hill, who was also related
Gillingham Helmes was on on the Lyme Regis to Dorchester Windsor,
THE NORMAN CASTLE AT CHRISTCHURCH (Dorset) was built early in the 12th
century by Richard de Redvers, Earl of Devon, and after several changes
of ownership came into the possession of the NEVILLES, Earls of
Warwick. Hence the connection with the Priory of Margaret, Countess of
Salisbury, the granddaughter of the King_maker. All that is left of the
Castle are parts of the east and west walls of the Keep, about 20ft high
and 10ft thick.
There is a monument inscription for Christiana Broome, and Robert Helme
of Gillingham, which was erected by her friend, Mary Pinney. This ties
together the Helmes, Broomes and the Pinneys, apparently
all of Dorset. Significantly, Susan Grimshaw writes that the Arms described
-"on a bend three pheons[HELME]", which is a connection
with the Helmes of Worchester. The Broome were later to be intermarried
with Helms in North Carolina. This is an important result of this research,
and the relationship with the Worchester Helmes , has significance for
overall English Helmes genealogy.
|New Mar 2002|