"The Shards" — Newsletter of the Shard*low Study Group

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Issue #13

1066 and all that...
It is generally accepted that only a handful of people can trace their direct line back to the time of the Norman Conquest but some interesting extracts from the Calendar of Fines sent to me by Tim Wassell does take our study well on the way.

One in particular refers to the tenancy of land in the village of Shardlow (Derbyshire) granted in 1231 by a lady by the name of Idonea, it does not give her another name but she is identified as "daughter of William son of Nigel de Shardelawe".

As she was making a legal contract I think we can safely assume she was over the age of 21, if you apply the accepted formula of 30 years per generation to this it would mean Nigel was born about the middle of the 12th century.

I have another reference, from a different source*, undated but thought to be about 1250 which refers to an Idonea de Schardelowe and her son Robert, it relates to grazing rights in an area not far South of Shardlow. It would seem they were a substantial family in the area by this time although not mentioned in the Doomsday Book that was only started some 65 years before the supposed birth of Nigel de Shardelawe.

Of course establishing the use of a name is very different from tracing a direct line of descent but I have some fairly detailed ‘trees’ from c1350 to c1650, it is bridging the gap between then and 1750 which is the biggest problem.

*Hastings Manuscripts, Huntington Library, San Marino: RCHM llxxviii 31.

"Family Search"
In the last newsletter I referred to this LDS web site and the names I had obtained from it. Before entering these in the database I need to establish the accuracy of these or at least the source of the information. There is a facility for doing this ‘online’ and two of the entries came from a lady in California on behalf of an organization called the “Medieval Families Project”. Has anyone heard of this?

I wrote to the address given on “Family Search” but the letter has been returned marked “Insufficient Address”

Shardlow Village, Derbyshire
This village is only about 17 miles from where I live and, although I often passed through it when I was working I had never explored it in detail. It seems to be inextricably linked with the Shard*low* name but whether the place gave rise to the surname or the reverse is not clear. I am inclined to favour the former so I thought a few details of it might not be out of place.

It is situated on the main road from Leicester to Derby where it crosses the river Trent, one of the main canals also meets at this point so it was an important commercial centre before the coming of the railways.  Today it is more concerned with the leisure industry and has a big marina for both Narrow Boats (canal barges) and cruisers.

There has been much residential development in recent years and, sadly, not much of the old village remains and what there is seems to be occupied by business.

The church only dates from about 1800 and was locked when I visited so did not yield any help although there are several Shardlow tombstones in the graveyard.

There is a Heritage Centre in the village (closed on the day I was there) but it maintains an excellent web site that is well worth a visit.

I have been in touch with the lady who hosts this site and exchanged some in formation, she tells me they are planning to include something about the surname and has agreed to refer enquiries to me.

Cambridge University Alumni
Some time ago I was told that there were several Shardelow references in a list of scholars who had been at the various Colleges but I have not had time to follow this up. A few days ago I saw that this was available for a limited period on the Internet and I have been able to extract 10 names dated between 1570 and 1638. There was reference to some of these in the material passed on to me by the late Gordon Keys and incorporated in the charts attached to SHARDS 11. The amount of biographical detail included in this list varies quite a bit but does help to confirm some relationships that were in doubt

The most interesting one is that of John Shardelow, son of Thomas. I knew of a John who was Rector of Beccles, Suffolk c 1640 but had not been able to find any other details, this now fits him in to a family and provides other leads which I shall explore.

Electoral Roll
I have just got a CD-ROM with the list of people in the UK eligible to vote and have extracted all the Shardlow, Shardalow & Shardelow names. Obviously this does not include anyone under the age of 18 and I have not searched for other spelling variations but it does make interesting reading.



No. Person










**Including Cliff and his wife


***Including Paul & Glyn’s families



It is not possible to make a direct comparison with the census returns but even allowing for children being excluded from the Electoral Roll it would seem that numbers have fallen slightly for Shardlow (395 in 1881) and rather more so for the other two ( 37 combined in 1881). There was one Shardalow and one Shardelow name that appeared to be new. C. SHARDALOW in Coronation St.Hayes, Middlesex and a SHARDELOW in Victoria Park, Cheltenham, Gloucester,  do these names mean anything to anyone? In both cases they were persons living on their own but ages are not given so they might be students or elderly people.

If no one claims them I will write to them.

Accident Report
I am sorry to say Paul has been off work due to a bad cut but his pain has been our gain because it has enabled him do some research into the farms mentioned in "Shards 12" and also to `surf the Internet' for Shardelow references.

He has come up with 7 in the States and one in Canada. I will not list these at this stage because Paul has undertaken to contact them but I think one of those in the USA may be the Ron Shardelow at the SA Embassy who Sandy contacted some time ago.

New Contact
Marj Cowie has made contact with a Mr. John George in Australia who is descended from and researching a branch of the Shardalows. He is a cousin of the Wilfrid George referred to in the "Out of the Long Ago" disk I sent to the original members of the group. Those who have joined us later can find this on John Shardalow's web site at...(You’re there!) Those of you wanting to know what John looks like will also find some excellent photos of him on this site. I am still waiting for pictures of you for future "Shards".


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