THE MAKEIGS IN CARDIGAN (i) AT PENLAN MANSION SOME ten years or so ago, being curious as to the origins of my family, the more immediate members of which had come from Tasmania, and New Zealand, via Bristol in the nineteenth century and earlier still, from Cardigan, in S. W. Wales, I became a researcher into the past, thus giving myself more pleasure, interest and delight than I could have believed possible. Not only does one follow the main trail back- wards one is constantly waylaid by beguiling detours, led into cul de sacs, baffled, frustrated, charmed with the discovery of new friends. One becomes a student of topography, searching old maps, tracing farmhouses and mansions history is read, churchyards yield up their elegantly lettered inscriptions on old and crumbling tombstones. Alas, so often a crucial date has flaked away and dissolved into dust; tombstones one expects to find have vanished, no doubt piled up against the fringes of the churchyard, cracked, face downwards, un- decipherable. Someone tells you of a memorial in an ancient church- yard so far unvisited, another mentions a family in the district still bearing the name for which you are searching. In S.W. Wales a handful of familiar family names come down throughout succeeding generations. They represent the gentry, revered and respected, their names still linked with their old family mansions, halls, farmhouses. Who in Cardiganshire has not heard, for example, of the Vaughans of Golden Grove, the Lloyds of Coedmore, the Brigstockes of Blaenpant, the Parrys of Noyadd Trefawr, for these names crop up time and time again, occurring in histories of the county, articles on the old houses, and in the lists of squires, judges, magistrates, M.P.s, and other notables of the day. But what of the smaller men, the landowning countrymen, of whom Professor L. B. Namier has said, the ephemeral records of print seldom touch and their lives and time are inscribed on stone or brass, in letters lasting and unread.' It seemed to me equally important that stories of some of the smaller men should be discovered and made known to their descendants. One writer has said that ignorance of one's ancestors leaves room for all kinds of vague and unconfessed misgivings about their origins and heritage.' All to the good if one could be proud of one's antecedants on the other hand, the odd skeleton or two in the cupboard-the rake or the rogue-could lighten a possible unimpeachable but boringly dull line.
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