In a royal charter from King Stephen dated 1137/8 confirming the inheritance of lands of Payn fitz John to his daughter Cecily and her husband Roger fitz Miles, Earl of Gloucester, Herman de Edgeworth, spelled Herem de Egewurd, and his son William fitz Herman, spelled Willm fil Herem, are listed as the holders of six knights fees, one and five fees respectively, in Wicha 1 , now known as Painswick. Four other knights fees are held, two each, by Anfr de Cuilarduilla and Hug Puher, making ten knights fees in all of Wicha. 2The Cuilardville‟s were Norman tenants of the de Lacy 3family and Hug or Hugh Puher is an important figure in determining the identity of Herman de Edgeworth.
In the Domesday Book, Roger de Lacy was lord of Edgeworth 4and Painswick 5 . As son of the great Norman landholder Walter de Lacy, Roger held many manors including 96 lordships until his banishment in 1096 when his lands were given to his brother Hugh. 6Hugh‟s daughter or niece, Sybil, married Pain fitz John, a Norman lord of the Welsh Marches 7 , and had two daughters. One daughter, Cecily, is the subject of the charter mentioned previously that first identifies Herman de Edgeworth and his son, William fitz Herman, who held another half a knights fee from Hugh de Lacy in Worcester 8.
This connection between the Domesday holdings of the de Lacy family, Pain fitz John‟s acquisition of part of the Ewyas Lacy lordship, and Hugh de Puher‟s affiliations with the de Lacy‟s, Herman, and his son William are at the crux of the question: from where does Herman de Edgeworth originate? Since Herman takes his surname from his English holdings, it is hard to determine his Norman origins. To further elucidate Herman‟s origins, we must look to his affiliations with known Norman lords like de Lacy, fitz John, and Puher.
Hugh Puher, found holding two knights fees in the charter mentioned above, is the heir of Walter Ponther 9 , a Domesday lord of 15 fees in Gloucester 10and 12 in Worcester 11in 1086, at least 27 fees in total. In 1166, Hugh Puher holds 12 fees in Worcester 12where Walter Ponther was lord in 1086 of at least 12 fees, including Phepson. Phepson is of interest because the grandson of William fitz Herman confirms a gift of land in Phepson to the monks of Worcester. 13This grandson of William fitz Herman, named William fitz Almaric, also “acquit[s] Phepson from all royal services,” and states that those services will be “supplied from his land in Shell.” 14
In the Domesday Book of 1086, Herman held Shell as a tenant of the lord of the manor, Roger de Lacy. The manor of Shell followed the same path of ownership as another manor, Hill Croome. 15The tenant of Hill Croome was William fitz Herman in 1182 and the lordship of Hill Croome passed from the de Lacy‟s to Hugh Poer (Puher) late in the 12 thcentury. 16
Herman was a tenant of many de Lacy manors including Hill Croome 17 , Blithfield 18 , Walton 19 , Shell 20 , and possibly others. Many of these lands, like the lands of Edgeworth and Painswick 21 , passed to Pain fitz John 22after Roger de Lacy‟s banishment and his brother Hugh de Lacy‟s death. The evidence shows that Herman de Edgeworth, William fitz Herman, and Hugh de Puher (Poer) were tenants of Roger de Lacy, his brother Hugh, and Pain fitz John. The connections between these men and the lands of Edgeworth, Phepson, Shell, Hill Croome, Blithfield, and Walton solidify Herman de Edgeworth‟s place as one of the chief landholders of the de Lacy‟s and fitz John‟s, but doesn‟t identify any Norman landholdings of Herman.
Herman took his surname from Edgeworth manor, which likely means this was his primary estate which eventually passed to his son William. Herman‟s first name is of Germanic or Norman origin 23and his son uses the term fitz which is a Norman naming method 24providing evidence of Norman origins.
Other instances of the name Herman in the Domesday Book are associated with Hamstall Ridware in Staffordshire 25and Garway, Bredenbury, and Queenhill in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. 26Herman de Dreux was a tenant of Roger de Lacy 27and also a tenant-in-chief in 1066, holding from King William at Castle Eaton in Wiltshire and Marston in Herefordshire. He also held Bishops Cannings and Luckington in Wiltshire. 28
Regardless of Herman‟s other land holdings, we know that his son William fitz Herman took the name William de Egeswurth 29and had at least three sons: William, Peter, and Thomas 30 . Peter de Edgeworth did well for himself becoming a knight 31and the Sheriff of Gloucestershire by 1230 32 . In 1236, Peter held half a fee at Edgeworth Manor, the other half being held by the Helion 33 , or Elyun 34 , family. By 1285, Stephen de Edgeworth held this half a fee, which passed to Thomas de Edgeworth in 1303, then to Robert de Edgeworth by 1346, and finally to another Stephen de Edgeworth in 1362. 35This seems to be the last of the male line to hold Edgeworth manor in Gloucestershire, but the name Edgeworth also lived on in other places associated with the de Lacy family including Edgeworth in Lancaster 36and Edgware manor in Middlesex 37.
Modern Edgeworth‟s hail from diverse regions including Wrexham and historic Denbighshire in Wales, Edgeworthstown in Ireland, as well as the Edgeworth‟s from North and South Carolina who descend from Richard Lovell Edgeworth‟s first son, Richard, who immigrated to America after the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately, there is not enough genetic information yet to determine if all of these Edgeworth‟s descend from the first of the name, the Norman knight, Herman de Edgeworth.
Currently, there is a genetic genealogy project 38to determine if modern Edgeworth‟s descend from the Norman knight Herman or if they have varied origins. One sample has tested in the haplogroup R1b-FGC28370 39 , a subgroup of R1b-Z195 which is a Scandinavian Viking genetic marker associated with the MacNeil 40 , MacDonald 41 , and MacLeod 42clans that once ruled in the Norse Viking Kingdom of the Isles.
Now that there is genetic proof that at least some modern Edgeworth‟s descend from Vikings based on the Scandinavian Viking genetic marker R1b-Z195, more Edgeworth male Y-DNA samples are needed to determine if there is one predominate Norman genetic origin for Edgeworth‟s. If so, then Herman de Edgeworth and his son William fitz Herman may prove to be the Norman Viking ancestors of the Edgeworth family.