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The Pembrokeshire historian

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No. 2 1966

Rickeston and Scotsborough : a study in family history /

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Rickeston and Scotsborough
A STUDY IN FAMILY HISTORY
by
MAJOR FRANCIS JONES, T.D., D.L., m.a., F.S.A.
Wales Herald Extraordinary
Few parishes illustrate in more dramatic manner the social and
economic revolution that has taken place in course of the last hundred
years or so, than Brawdy, a tract of some 5580 acres in the southeastern
part of the hundred of Dewsland. Within this comparatively small area
there were at one time as many as twelve manors and six residences of
gentle families. The jurisdiction and franchises of the former have
lapsed, the latter have departed, their mansions reduced to farmhouses.
Brawdy, Castle Villa, Eweston, Newgale, are mere fragmentary relics,
while Rickeston, once seat of the most influential families in Dewsland,
has disappeared from the face of the earth. Llether, which ceased to
be a country house in the third decade of this century, alone retains
some outward semblance of its former condition. The estates, of which
these houses were centre, have been broken up, the farms sold to sitting
tenants, and only Castle Villa and Newgale continue in possession of
descendants of the original owners. The families, the petite noblesse de
campagne, for centuries unpaid administrators of local government and
justice, have suffered a similar fate; some became extinct through failure
of male heirs, others moved away to distant places, while a number,
buffeted by misfortune or folly, fell from their high estate and were
absorbed into the rural population so that today their annals, genealogies
and armorial ensigns are known only to the laborious antiquary.
Of the old families of Dewsland few were more prominent in the
life of the county than the successive owners of Rickeston whose history
I propose to review in this essay. We know nothing of the first settler
there, Rickart, except that he gave his name to the place, but it is likely
that he was of Norman ancestry, and perhaps arrived about the same
time as Tancred came to neighbouring Tancredston early in the twelfth
century. From Rickart's tun developed the form Rickeston, while its
Welsh equivalent survives as Tre-eicert.
During the 1200s, Rickeston became the property of a family sur-
named Le Moigne, sometimes written Le Mayne and Le Maen. The
coat-of-arms borne by the Le Moignes, or six martlets gules, three, two
and one', suggests an affinity with the baronial house of De Valence,
Earls of Pembroke. They may have been kinsmen, or on the other hand
retainers, for the latter often adopted arms based on those borne by
their superior lords. According to Lewis Dwnn's Heraldic Visitations,
"Gwenllian le Maen sol eyr of Ffylip le Mwyn o Dre Rickart" married
Robert Martin whose name certainly points to a Norman origin.
Both Lewis Dwnn and George Owen of Henllys tell us that
Robert was a cadet of the Martins, lords of Cemaes, being brother to
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