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The Peshale & Swynnerton Families

Dr. Gary Alan Dickey

The new researcher who is investigating the origins of the Pearsall family is in for a real treat! The Pearsall name is an ancient one which goes back into England's history at least into the 11th Century, and the family branches touch every noble house in Europe. The surname has been found in many different spellings: Peshall, Peshale, Pershall, Pearshall, Peashall, Parshall, Pearsall and numerous other variations. The name of Pearsall was originally not a surname as we know it today; rather it was a location name­it was attached to a first name to denote one who was from the village of Peshall. This usually was an early device of the landed gentry and the nobility. Because of the early French Norman influence from the time of William I's conquest of King Harold at Hastings in 1066, many would show their names with the French particle "de" which means "of." Therefore, a certain landed person of the village of Peshall would be called, for example, Thomas de Peshall or Thomas of Peshall. This would distinguish him from Thomas of Eccleshall, etc. As generations would go on, the de was dropped and the location name became the surname (at one time, the sirname or name of a gentleman).

When one looks at a map of Staffordshire, he or she will find place names (on modern maps) such as Pershall, Swynnerton, Eccleshall, and Ellenshall, villages all within a few miles of one another in the rolling plains of Staffordshire. In reviewing the history of the Staffordshire Peshales one will see these villages playing an integral part in our family story throughout the centuries. Through such knowledge of the areas from which our ancestors came, important facts can be found to enrich our understanding of their background.

What is the best procedure by which to research a family name? While it is tempting to only investigate one family line at a time, it is also valuable to consider researching more than one line at a time. This allows one's research to make a broader base of inquiry which brings new facts and issues to the researcher which otherwise would not occur. Such is the case when one investigates the relationship between the Swynnertons and the Peshales of Staffordshire from the villages of Pershall and Swynnerton. In the early centuries after the Norman invasion, both of these families are found mentioned in manor rolls, inquisitions, land documents, wills, and histories of the area. These important documents bring evidence to verify the names, relationships, and positions these families held in this period. The Swynnertons and the Peshales are related through intermarriage amongst their families and even intermarriage amongst the resulting families. This was so because of the necessity of marrying for convenience and power. The established and upper-standing families of Staffordshire would find amongst themselves an ideal environment in which to propose marriage­each wedding would help each family achieve whatever goals they sought for the future generations of those families.

The following descendant chart shows the direct line descendants of Robert de Peshale and Ormunda de Lumley through the seventh generation to Adam de Peshall & Joan de Eyton (notice the changes of the male surnames through the generations):

  1. Robert de Peshale de Lumley & Ormunda de Lumley de Stafford
  2. John de Lumley de Peshale & Female FitzAlan
  3. Lord Robert de Swynnerton de Suggenhull d. 1189 & Margery de Audley
  4. John de Swynnerton de Aspley de Suggenhull d. 1254 & Eleanor de Peshale
  5. Alice de Swynnerton d.c1315 & Adam de Peshall (Adam's gggrandfather was Robert #1)
  6. Lord Sir Adam de Peshall Kt. d. 8 Jan 1346 (beheaded) & Joan de Eyton
  7. Lord Sir Richard de Peshall Kt. ca 1325-ca 1387 & Joan de Chetwynd

The following pedigree shows the line of descent between the Peshale and Swynnerton families and indicates how the families intermarried. Thus, John de Peshale de Lumley and Female FitzAlan are the common forebears of Adam de Peshale who married Joan de Eyton through both his paternal AND maternal lines:

John de Lumley de Peshale =
Female FitzAlan

| _________________________________________

| Robert de Swynnerton = Margery de Audley William de Peshale = Female
de Suggenhull
| Pantulf
| | |

Stephen de Peshale Walter de Peshale

| | John de Swynnerton de Aspley de Suggenhulle = Eleanor de
Peshale Walter de Peshale

| | Alice de Swynnerton
= Adam de Peshale

Adam de Peshale = Joan de Eyton


Richard de Peshall = Joan de

Richard de Peshall and Joan de Eyton then become the common forebears of many of those of the Pearsall name who would, in the early 1600s, make their way to America. In addition, two of the sons of John de Lumley who married Female FtizAlan, Robert and William, are both direct lines ancestors of later Pearsall descendants because of further intermarriage.

It is hoped this brief summary may be of interest to our new Pearsall researchers and may provide a closer look into the intricacies of research of families from the ancient periods.

Swynnerton In spite of the changes which have taken place during the twentieth century, Swynnerton is still an old world village which never fails to charm the visitor. Its ancient and lovely Parish Church, dedicated to St.Mary, forms an integral part of the group of buildings which make up the centre of the village.
The Swinnerton Society the founder of the SWINNERTON dynasty was established at SWYNNERTON in STAFFORDSHIRE when the Domesday book was compiled? -that many of the SWINNERTONS living today are descendants of that original founder, and you may be one of the descendents of this distinguished family?(The Pearsall Family is a descendent of this Family

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