The DOVASTON Homeland

Dovaston Welcome from Ruth DOVASTON-STANT to The DOVASTON Homeland ... a compilation of photographs, maps, charts, and interesting information from, starting with this photo [©.Ruth DOVASTON-STANT] taken in 2002 from a point just north of Ruyton XI Towns, looking across farmland towards Wigmarsh, Weirbrook, Twyford and West Felton in Shropshire, England. The scene is little changed over hundreds of years. 
Aerial photograph of the
Wigmarsh area.
Wigmarsh in the 1890's [incl.Yew Tree Cottage]
Wigmarsh, Weirbrook and West Felton.

Dovaston DOVASTON Congregational Chapel 
The first chapel, for the congregation formed in 1826, is now converted to residential use. It has no date stone. This chapel was replaced in 1879 by a new chapel, q.v. Grid ref: S J 348211
Dovaston DOVASTON Congregational [now United Reformed] Chapel 
This chapel, with 200 sittings and its own burial ground, was built in 1879. It is still in use as a chapel in 2002. A former chapel for a congregation formed in 1826 is situated at the opposite end of the same site and is now converted to residential use. It has no date stone. Grid ref: SJ 348211. 
St Johns Parish Church, Ruyton XI Towns, where several generations of DOVASTONs were baptised, married and buried.

1066: much of the present county of Shropshire, including Ruyton, Wykey and Felton, was given to the Lordship of Earl Roger of MONTGOMERY.
1086: The Domesday survey states that in the time of King Edward I, much of Ruyton was ‘waste land’, liable to attack from the local bandits of Rhirid Flaidd, who was descended from Gododdins [probably Picts] from the North of Britain, who settled in the West of Britain after driving the Irish back to Ireland.

View Larger Map: St Johns Parish Church, Ruyton XI Towns

This is Ruyton XI Towns with St Johns Parish Church in the background.
Ruyton Church and old Ruyton Castle were built; the Church was the Chapel of Baschurch, for the townships of Ruyton and Coton only, which then constituted the whole of the Manor of Ruyton. The old Castle was built to drive back Rhirid Flaidd attackers.
c.1155-1160 William FITZALLEN united the Manor of Ruyton to the two other Manors of Wikey and Felton. The whole was called the Manor or Lordship of Ruyton, and this was handed over to John LE STRANGE, 1st Lord of Knockin, who created the earliest known coat of arms by applying its red background when he displayed two argent lions passant. Attached to this the blood thirsty motto ‘mihi parta tueri’ [I will fight for/defend what is mine]
The old Castle made Ruyton the most important of the three Manors. Together they comprised eleven townships, from which the Manor got the name of Ruyton- of-the-Eleven-Towns.
1212: "John Le Strange, Lord of Knokyn and of Ruton did damage to the Prince Llewellyn of Wales' people”; as a result the Prince attacked and demolished much of the old Castle and captured people from Ruyton.
1230-1240: Baschurch was in the hands of Shrewsbury Abbey and Felton, under another branch of the Le Strange family and had its own church.
The Parish of Ruyton was created; but the old Manor of Felton, containing five of the eleven towns, had been included for nearly 100 years in the independent Parish of Felton, so that the new Parish of Ruyton was made to consist not of the whole of the eleven townships of the Manor but of the six not included in Felton Parish. It is for this reason that it is called the Parish of Ruyton-in-the-Eleven-Towns.
1272: an area for a Churchyard and the advowson [the right to nominate a person to hold a church office in a parish] of the Church were given to HAUGHMOND; the old Castle was in ruins.
The old Castle was not mentioned when there was a fine imposed on the Manor.
1301: Edmund Earl of ARUNDEL bought Ruyton from John Le Strange, 5th Earl of Knockin; he obviously saw the potential of a village bounded by the Perry to the north and east and with a substantial new Castle with a commanding view of the surrounding countryside.
1308: Arundel created the new Borough of Ruyton, with the laws and customs of the new town of Bristol and its citizens to be equal to those of Shrewsbury and Hereford. The Church and Castle were part of the old township of Ruyton which remained outside the jurisdiction of the new Borough.
It was likely that at this stage the new Castle was rebuilt and greatly strengthened and a stone building added to the northwest.The tower of the Castle has been discovered to be 20 metres square with a paved floor on a level with the Church floor. About 10 metres west of the Tower, a window sill was discovered and foundations of a building to the north and another to the north west of the main Ruins. The width of the walls was 4 or 5 metres thick and must have been built for defense. Foundations for a further building were discovered on the south east corner. Three light shoots were discovered, one of which was used as a chimney for one of the Castle Cottages [see below]. It was discovered that the Norman Tower had probably been built on the foundations of an earlier building on the site.
1777: the plot of land containing the Castle Ruins and a ‘small tenement’ was shown on the map and sale details of the Craven Estates. This early 18thC picture shows the Castle Cottages next to the Church, where later, John DOVASTON lived [c.1838].
Dovaston Here's the cemetery at St Johns Parish Church. Here lies Sarah DOVASTON [MI237, the one photographed in the foreground, laid flat, behind which I'm inspecting unknown graves overgrown with ivy]. Sarah was born 5th August 1782 at The Nursery, Twyford, and died 30th June 1860. Her parents were John DOVASTON and Ann [nee HOOPER]. She was the sister of John Freeman Milward DOVASTON [see Hall of Fame] and never married. She is not my direct kin, being my half second cousin, five times removed.
Dovaston A headstone [MI245] next to Sarah's
belongs to my 4th great grandfather, John DOVASTON [1755-1841] and his wife, Ann [nee PRICE] [1758-1833], two sons, John [1792-1824] and Thomas [1789-1807], and a nephew William DOVASTON [1789-1828].  There's a familiar DOVASTON inscription: "They ran their course in lowly lot, just streaked the stream and were forgot". William was born at Littleness, the son of John DOVASTON and Ann [nee BROWN]. He was a Stonemason and married his cousin, Sarah DOVASTON, daughter of John DOVASTON and Ann [nee PRICE] from The Nursery, Twyford
There's one more DOVASTON grave at St Johns {MI412], a recent one belonging to Tom and Annie who died 1967 and 1972 aged 72 and 73.
Dovaston This is Yew Tree Cottage, Wigmarsh, just north of Ruyton XI Towns where William DOVASTON [b.1793] and Jane [nee DAVIES] lived all their married lives. William, my 3rd great grandfather, was a son of the above mentioned John DOVASTON and Ann [nee PRICE]. 
Dovaston John was born at
The Nursery, Twyford and died at Wigmarsh in October 1841. He married Ann on 15th December 1780 and they lived at Wigmarsh, but I'm not sure which cottage they lived at.
William and Jane's children were Mary, Rachel, Hannah, William, Alfred, Anne, Naome, *Sarah and Margaret Elizabeth, all born between 1828 and 1846. William's occupation, like his father's, was a Tailor. He died 11th August 1879. In the 1881 Census, Jane [nee
DAVIES] was a widow, an Annuitant. 
STANT, my 2nd great grandfather, a Stonemason [the son of Thomas and Jane, mentioned above] and *Sarah [nee DOVASTON, the daughter of William and Jane] and their children, Naomi J, Margaret E, Thomas Dovaston, John H, William Alfred, Martin Edward, born between 1867 and 1881 had moved from Weirbrook to live with Sarah's widowed mother. [Sarah M and Phyllis Violet STANT were born later]. 
Wigmarsh is still a very small hamlet consisting of just the same half a dozen cottages. 
Dovaston Still at
Wigmarsh, I'm approaching a sandstone cottage likely built by one of my Stonemason ancestors, maybe Thomas STANT [the son] or William DOVASTON from Littleness. Similar distinctive sandstone cottages are found at Weirbrook.

The story, to be continued ...     

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[constantly under construction - last updated January 2017 ]