Priday Families: Origins

My mother was a Priday making me half Priday and I am spending a chunk of time following all the links to try and understand this complicated but fascinating  family grouping.

The Priday family groups in Birmingham, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Kent, Somerset, South Wales, Staffordshire, Yorkshire plus Austrsalia & USA are all linked back in history.There are enclaves of the family in other counties and I will try and cover all the various groups.

One article would become to long & too complicated to both write and read, thereore there are series of linked articles, each created for each significant grouping, based around a place.

Origin of the Family

From records I have been able to go back to Moreton Valance, Gloucestershire in 1615. At that time one Gershom Priday was born - there are presently no records of his mother or father making Gershom the first Priday. Invariably, Gershom was what then was described as a Peasant, working the land probably for the Lord of the Manor but perhaps with some land for his own family, what today would be described as a tenented farmer or smallholder. At prsent I can find no named mention of a wife, however records do show that Gershom had a son - Samuel Priday (1635 - 1697), born & died in Moreton Valance too. And it is from Samuel that all the other branches stem.

Gershom Priday was my 8th (maternal) great grandfather & Samuel my 7th (maternal) great grandfather.

Because Moreton Valance is the place where it all starts, here is a description of the place for all of us not that familiar with it.

Moreton Valance

moretonvalance mapMoreton Valence is an ancient parish in the Diocese of Gloucester; it has been united with Eastington, Frocester, Haresfield, Standish and Whitminster since 1999: the six parishes form one benefice known as “The Cotswold Edge Parishes.”

Moreton Valance lies 6 miles south-west of Gloucester (in the County of Gloucestershire), on the left-hand bank (English-side) of the River Severn. The river has been a significant element in the history of the parish, which historically was rural and, for the most part remained secluded until the 20th Century. It is located between the vallages of Hardwicke & Frampton-on-Severn and bordered by Saul & Arlingham, Whitminster, Standish Haresfield & Brookthorpe.

In the 21st Century four farms remain in the Parish: Manor Farm, Standish Lane; Moor Farm, Church Lane; New House Farm, Standish Lane & Gables Farm (on the A38 main truck road).

The Parish is disected by the main A38 trunk road, which runs from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire to Bodmin in Cornwall and the M5 motorway (Birmingham to Exeter via Bristoll).

Moreton Valance is both a village & a Parish controlled (today) by be Church of England. The Parish origins were set in the dividing up of lands following the Norman conquest of 1066, although whether there were any recognisable settlements in the Parish in Angle Saxon times is as yet unclear.

The Moreton Valance Parish settlement is scattered, and the two most compact groups of houses, at Putloe and Epney, appear to be of relatively late origin. The earliest settlement was presumably the small group of houses near the centre of the parish, including the church, the site of the moated manor-house, Church Farm, Barracks Farm, and two small houses. That was the site of the settlement characterized in the 11th century by the name Moreton, a farmstead set in marshland, to which the suffix Valence had been added by 1276, after the then lord of the manor.

moretonvalance churchChurch of St. Stephen, Moreton Valance
Architectually the church comprises of the west tower, nave with north porch and chancel, with south aisle running whole length and is Grade 1 listed.

Grade 1 listing means that the buildings are of exceptional (archtectural or historical) special interest, although they are not necessarily always the most 'splendid' or prestigious. Grade I buildings make up approximately 1.4% of listed buildings UK nation wide.

St Stephen in Moreton Valence has stood for over eight hundred years. A little Norman Church, of which many features remain, was built during the regins of Stephen and Matilda.

The Church contains many references to Norman and Saxon England. The chanel semi-circular arch is a simple and characteristic example of early Norman architecture. A Norman doorway is portected by a timber-framed gable around the back of the Church, by which castle folk came to Church. The porch also protects the tympanum, the most interesting feature of the Church. It is a semi-circular stone which represents the Archangel Michael piercing the head of a dragon with a spear.

The whole Church was rebuilt in the 14th or 15th centuries. Many gravestones around the Churchyard are from the 16th and 17th centuries. The Church has a two-manual organ by F W Walker of London, dated 1849 and the Church has six bells, four dating back to 1696.

The cottage next to the Church was once the Vicarage.

Moated Manor House, Moreton Valance
It was built alongside a castle and moat built behind the Church in 1253 for William de Valence. The house was recorded in 1324, but by 1372, the buildings were said to be worth nothing beyond their expenses and probably gone out of use. All that remains is a flat site surrounded by a moat.

churchfsarm-moretonvalanceChurch Farm, Moreton Valance
Historically Church Farm was described as an L-shaped house of one story with attics under a steeply pitched roof. It was built out of brick, with a tiled roof, but was formerly timber-framed and thatched. The range projecting eastward is wider and higher at the eaves and ridge than the northsouth range, to which it was an addition.

The modern estate agent description for Chruch Farm (house) was thus: "6 bed freehold detached house, located at Church Farm, Church Lane, Moreton Valence, Gloucester GL2 7NB with an estimated current value of £683,450. Detached, 6 Beds, 2 Baths, 4 Receps with gardens front & rear and off-road parking."

Church Farm is located on Church Lane a no-through lane from the A38, which terminates as the driveway to Moors Farm.

Barracks Farm, Moreton Valance
Barracks Farm is a small 18th or 19th-century brick house located at 4 Church Lane and is Grade 2 Listed.

Grade 2 listing means that the property is a high quality building, mostly unaltered, and often with an interior of special interest. Nation-wide, these comprise 4.1% of all listed buildings. I can find no photo of Barracks Farm online.

The listing reference states: "Former farmhouse and adjoining stable, now detached private house. Probably late (Century) 18/early (Century) 19, restored 1980s. Brick, slate roof with parapet wall to front, coped with verges swept up to external brick end stacks, very large to left with oversailing brick courses, and smaller to right, absorbed within stable formerly probably separate, with tile roof. Single main range of 2 storeys with attic at gable ends, and 2-storey former stable to right. Three windows, 16-pane sashes with stone keystone and voussoirs, some restored. Ground floor has 2 similar flanking restored or reused 6-panel door, top 2 panels glazed, centre 2 fielded, lower 2 flush, with segmental-headed projecting wooden porch of later C19 with trellis-work sides. Stable has 2 windows, C20 two-light casements under cambered heads, 2 similar to ground floor with left hand window adjacent to plank door and both under long timber lintel. The building has been altered in the past but sympathetically restored to something close to its probable original design. Said to be on site of barracks for soldiers at moated castle adjacent (now disappeared) and the point from which all local waterflow and drainage was controlled."

Moreton Valance Airfield

Tiger moreton valenceIn the run up to WW2, tghe Royal Air Force had many sites identified for the construction of Airfields and a segment of land situated between the A38 and B4008 roads east of Moreton Valence was acquired to build RAF Moreton Valance (which was also known Haresfield airfield). RAF Moreton Vaklance opened in 1939 and closed in 1962.

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 (Gloucestershire) and was used by an Advanced Flying Unit of Royal Air Force Flying Training Command.

Secret tests were also carried out at Moreton Valance during WW2 of the Armstrong Whitworth Albermarle bomber. The Albemarle, originally designed as a medium bomber, was converted & was used for general and special transport duties, paratroop transport and glider towing, including Normandy and the assault on Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.

The production run of 600 Albemarles was assembled by A.W. Hawksley Ltd of Gloucester, a subsidiary of the Gloster Aircraft Company. Gloster was a part of the Hawker Siddeley group which included Armstrong Whitworth. Individual parts and sub-assemblies for the Albemarle were produced by about 1,000 subcontractors.

In the post war period it was used by Gloster aircraft for testing Meteor jet aircraft.

The airfield site has been subsequently bisected by the M5 motorway and some areas are used for industrial "parks".