My cousin Ian Hudson remembered his mother Lily Strickland telling him that the Strickland family were connected to royalty, he had dismissed this information as being wishful thinking or a family fable, but we shouldn’t always ignore the stories that are passed down in families as there is often a grain of truth to them. My third great grandfather John Stickland and his cousin also a John Stickland married another set of cousins, the granddaughters of Arundell Pryor and Jane Millwood. Arundell Pryor was a Mineral Assayer and an Agent for the Cornish Copper Company, he was also a local preacher at the Copperhouse Methodist Chapel for many years.
Arundell Pryor was the eldest son of Richard Pryor and Margaret Arundell, he was born in the village of Sithney and christened on the 6th of January 1729. His mother Margaret was one of the last Arundells of Truthall which is located close by to the village of Sithney. Legend has it that Margaret Arundell eloped with Richard Pryor by climbing out of a window. Richard Pryor was a farmer or Yeomen and his family had resided in the Sithney - Wendron area for many generations. Margaret and Richard were married on the 6th of November 1722 at Sithney church and they had a total of six children.
Margarett Arundell was the youngest daughter of John Arundell and Elizabeth Newman, she was christened in Helston church on the 2nd of November 1704. Margaret was just eleven years old when her father died and shortly afterwards her mother, apparantly the estate of Truthall was sold off by her brother to pay off his father’s debts. Margaret’s grandparents were Sir John Arundell Esquire and Elizabeth Lanyon, her grandfather died two years after her parents and was buried in Sithney church, so she would have been closely aquainted with him. Inside Gwinear church there is a monument on the wall for her grandmother Elizabeth Arundell-Lanyon, the Lanyon family owned an Estate in the parish of Gwinear and both they and the Arundell family contributed money towards restoration and alterations of Gwinear church. The monument inscription reads as follows :-
“Here lyeth the body of Mrs Elizabeth Arundell late wife of John Arundell of Sithney Esq.and daughter of Tomas Lanyon of Gwinear Gent.
Buried the 23rd of September 1683 in the 36th year of her age.
To whose memory her loving and lamenting husband consecrates this ........... with whom she having been a dear consort and willing partner under all the more mild and severer dispensations of God’s providence for fourteen years and upwards exchanged this troublesome state of life for the joyes of a better by whom likewise in that time blessed with two sons and three daughters one daughter she saw buried the rest surviving here.”
The Arundell family was described as the richest and best beloved of all Cornish families during Tudor times.
The Arundells extended their land-holdings and rose to prominence through a series of good marriages to wealthy heiresses during the Middle Ages. Alliances to the Roches, Lanhernes, Carminows, Luscotts, Lambourns, Chideocks and Dinhams resulted in the Arundells acquiring much land, sometimes unexpectedly and many years later, and outliving many of these older West Country families.
At the same time the Arundells were active locally and nationally. Ralph Arundell was sheriff of Cornwall in 1259-60 and John Arundell became Bishop of Exeter in 1502. Sir John Arundell fought for Henry VI at the Battle of Tewkesbury during the Wars of the Roses and his grandson was one of those appointed to put down the Cornish rebellion of 1497-98. Two Arundells served as stewards of the Duchy of Cornwall in the sixteenth century and Arundells led Royalist troops during the Civil War. Branches of the family were established at Trerice and Tolverne by younger sons in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The Arundell’s influence declined after the Reformation, when their staunch adherence to Catholicism made them ineligible for public office, but they remained prominent in Cornwall as long as they retained their lands there.
Sir John Arundell of Truthall was the only son of another Sir John Arundell and Margaret Cooke, his father was a Colonel of Horse for King Charles I and Deputy-Governor of Pendonnis Castle under Richard Lord Arundell of Trerice. If we trace this Arundel line back for another five generations to a Sir John Arundell of Tolverne who was born in 1428 we discover that he was married in 1461 to Matilda Courtney of Boconnoc. Matilda was the great-great granddaughter of Hugh de Courtney Earl of Devon and Margaret de Bohun. This Margaret was the daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex and Elizabeth Plantagenet, and therefore granddaughter of Edward I, King of England and his Queen Eleanor of Castille.
So you see the Arundell’s were descended from Royalty and through Margaret Arundell’s marriage to Richard Pryor so were the descendents of Arundell Pryor. It can be seen that for several generations the name of Arundell was used as a first name by descendents of Richard Pryor and Margaret Arundell, even in my Stickland line I came across the name of Richard Arundell Stickland, proof that they were proud to be associated with this family. Also the family legends about Royal blood were not just passed down in our line but have turned up amongst other Pryor descendents. It is fascinating to realize that family stories can be passed down so many generations and shows you how important it is to listen to the stories of our parents and family.