Gershom (Pride) Priday - earliest Priday ancestor

Going backwards through the Priday (my Moms family) ancestors I have found Gershom Pride who was the father of Samuel Priday, my seventh great grandfather.

Records from that period are sketchy unless the person had a position in Society - this was the period when the Pilgrims were setting out for the land that eventually became the United States of America and England was ruled by James VI and I (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) who was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death.

In the absence of actual facts (other than his name appearing on Samuel's baptism record as "father") I have applied a bit of educated guesswork: Gershom's last name was Priday not Pride, that he was born about 1615, was not married (as defined by churchlaw of the times) and he worked the land as an agricultural worker in Moreton Valance in Goucestershire.

Elizabethian Society

The class system was not born during the Elizabethian times but was most definitely strictly enforced during those times. The Priday's of that time were most certainly agricultural workers and as far as I can tell were not (at that time) land owners. At best they could have been tenant farmers but were more than likely labourers and would have been called "serfs", effectively servants working for a land owning master.

As a result it would have been very inusual for Gershom to have been eductated to any level and highly unlikely he could write. Therefore any "official" record is likely to have been made by a Recorder listening to the spoken words of Gershom or his own parent/s. As a conseqence, PRIDE could well have been PRIDIE or PRIDAY written down wrongly by the Recorder. Gershom's name is recorded as being PRIDE.

I do not have a recorded birth date for Gershom, however his son Samuel was recorded as being born in 1635. Using the average age for fatherhood (from those known early Priday family members), I estimate that Gershom was 20 when he became father to Samuel, suggesting that he was born in 1615.

And I have no officially recorded birth place for Gershom, however Samuel was baptised & died in Moreton Valance, Gloucestershire, England. At that time family members did not stray far from their parents - how could they? They were born into the same servitude that their parent served. So I am guessing that Gershom was from the Moreton Valance area too.

Moreton Valance

moretonvalance church

According to the 'A vision of Britain through time' website, Moreton Valance, is a parish, with a scattered Village, in the Wheatenhurst district of  Gloucestershire. It goes onto say:

" Moreton Valance is on the Gloucester and Berkeley canal, 2½ miles West South West of Haresfield railway station, and 3½ North North West of Stonehouse. Posttown, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire. The scattered village has an acreage of 1,432; of which 33 are water. Population (in 1870-72) was recorded as being 337 persons living in 75 houses. The property (village) is much subdivided. Standish House belongs to Lord Sherborne, and is occupied by R. Potter, Esq. The living is a parish curacy in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. Value, £85. Patron, the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. The church is chiefly later English; consists of nave, south aisle, and chancel, with a tower; and was recently repaired. A section of the parish, which contained a population of 180 in 1861, is within Framilode chapelry. "

So by the late 1800's Moreton Valance was still a small place but did contain a Lordship at Standish House. Standish House is said to have been built by Lord Sherborne as a hunting-lodge in 1830, but there was a building there in 1818, apparently either a farm building or a house under construction.

According to the 'British History Online' website " In 1255 the Crown granted palings for enclosing the park at Moreton belonging to William de Valence, who later claimed free warren there.  The park was broken into in 1287 and 1295, and deer were taken. It was described as a park without wild beasts in 1324, the latest date at which mention of it has been found. Its location may be indicated by the name of Park field, which was near the centre of the south-east part of the parish."

Both 'A vision of Britain through time' and 'British History Online' describe Moreton Valance as being broken up into parcels of land that were farmed.

Moreton Valance Airfield

Moreton Valance airfield today from the air

A Second World War military airfield, which opened in 1939 and closed in 1962. The airfield was situated between the A38 and B4008 roads east of Moreton Valence, it was also known as Haresfield airfield. During World War Two it was equipped with three concrete runways and a range of aircraft hangars including A1, blister, B1 and B2 types. It was a satellite of Staverton Airfield and was used by an Advanced Flying Unit of Royal Air Force Flying Training Command. During World War Two it also hosted secret tests of the Armstrong Whitworth Albermarle bomber. In the post war period it was used by Gloster Aircraft Company for testing Meteor jet aircraft. The airfield site has been subsequently bisected by the M5 motorway and some areas are used for industrial "parks".