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header3 Saunders Family, originally from Idmiston, Wiltshire...

Origins of the surname, courtesy of

"This famous surname of either English or Greek derivation has truly ancient origins. The name in its various spellings has long been accepted as being a derivative of the Greek personal name 'Alexander' which was recorded from 2000 B.C., but it is now certain that for many nameholders, the origin is Olde English and locational from Sanderstead in Surrey. This latter place was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 871 a.d as 'Sondenstede' - the house on the sandy land. The Grecian 'Alexander' translates as "Defender of Men", a meaning which contributed greatly to its world wide popularity. 'Alexander' was introduced into England by the Crusaders, who, as the Knights of St.John, used the island of Crete as their base for the many fruitless attempts to conquer the Holy Land. The known forms of the name are Saunder, Sandar, and Sander, whilst Saunders, Sanders, and Sandars, are patronymics. Early examples of the surname recording include William Sandre of Kent in 1316, and Richard Saunder of Stafford in the Subsidy Rolls of that county for the year 1332. Other examples include Sir Edward Saunders, Chief-baron of the exchequer to Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1559, whilst Francis Sanders, (1648 - 1710), a Jesuit priest was confessor to the exiled King James 11 of England, at the palace of St. Germain in France. The Sanders of Sanders Place, Surrey, claim descent from Watkin de Sanderstead in pre Norman times. The coat of arms has the blazon of a black field charged with an ermine chevron between three bulls heads cabossed silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Sandres, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307."

My research so far has traced this family back to Robert Saunders, born about 1752, Idmiston, Wiltshire. Cenus returns for many of his childrn indicate that most of the family were 'ag lab's', with some gardeners.  Robert Saunders' son, also Robert, born in Boscombe, Wiltshire is my ancestor, and this family appeared to have remained in this part of South Wiltshire for many generations.

An interesting puzzle for me has been the origins of my g-grandfather, Herbert Ethey Saunders' (b 1870, Boscombe, Wiltshire) names.  It appears that two of his cousins were also given these names: Herbert Ethey Saunders, born 1869, Boscombe, Wiltshire; and Ethey Herbert Coleman,  born 1868, Allington, Wiltshire.  The co-incidence of names has been my only evidence that Herbert Ethey Saunders was the 'biological' son of his father, Abel Saunders, as he was born in 1869, registered as Ethy Mercer, with his parents marrying only in 1874.

Herbert Ethey Saunders emigrated to South Africa in 1924, where he fought in Northern Natal in the Anglo-Boer War, attaining the rank of Squadron Sergeant-Major in Bethune's Mounted Infantry.  After the war he settled in Vryheid, (now in KwaZulu-Natal), as the Town Engineer.  He is known to have had a keen sense of humour, and was much-loved by his wife, Elizabeth Ings.  He named his home in Vryheid "Old Sarum" after the parish of the same name in Salisbury where his wife's family came from.
Herbert Ethey
                        Saunders, Anglo Boer War
Herbert Ethey Saunders, Anglo Boer War

Dorothy Phyllis
My grand-mother, Dorothy Phyllis Saunders, kept a great deal of family memorabilia which has been invaluable in researching her family, and the many photographs taken by Robert Nelson Stannard, her husband and my grand-father ... a keen and talented amateur photographer ... are priceless.
Dorothy Phyllis Saunders, photograph by Robert Nelson Stannard

My father, Neil Phillip Stannard was of great help in finding out more about his grand-father, Herbert Ethey Saunders, and this page, together with the Stannard page, is dedicated to his memory, thanks Dad!

My current brick wall in researching the Saunders Family is Robert Saunders, b abt 1752, Idmiston, Wiltshire...

Surnames linked to the our branch of the Saunders family since about 1720...

Coombs    Gilbert    Girle    Ings

Mercer    Stannard

Other resources & links which have been useful in my research into the Rose family of Frome, Somerset:
Wiltshire Online Parish Clerks;
Yahoo Wiltshire 100 Groups;

Family names encountered in my research include:

  • Abbott
  • Berlin
  • Broome
  • Cave
  • Chambers
  • Cowlin
  • Crane
  • Davidge
  • Felton
  • Fussel
  • Gilbert
  • Girle
  • Goshen
  • Hartill
  • Harvey
  • Heath
  • Ings
  • Knuckey
  • Maidment
  • Mercer
  • Minchington
  • Oppy
  • Phillips
  • Saddington
  • Sadler
  • Seller
  • Spargo
  • Stares
  • Street
  • Tregoning
  • Tucker
  • Vincent
  • Wake
  • Whelpley
  • Wyatt


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