Senelstune, Domesday and the Coat of Arms
__________________________ Snelson Township___________________________
This small township, although part of Rostherne Parish, in Bucklow Hundred, belongs to Macclesfield Hundred, and closely adjoins Chelford, in Prestbury Parish. It is thus referred to in the Domesday Survey undertaken in 1986, when it was part of the possessions of Randle, the ancestor of the Mainwaring family. In 1672, Robert Strethill, Richard Sandbach, John Antrobus, John Brooke, John Toppe, George Fallowes, and the heirs of Ralph Furnival of the Milne House in Chelford are returned as freeholders in this township.
Senelstune ( SNELSON ) is in the Chapelry of Over Peover and its parent parish of Rostherne is in Bochelau ( Bucklow ) Hundred. SNELSON today is a civil parish in Cheshire with a 1961 population of 184 comprising some 427 acres about 9 kilometres to the south east of Knutsford towards Macclesfield.
The SNELSON township in the parish of Rostherne in Cheshire is the same as the Senelstune in Domesday. Evidently, a family sprang up here called both "SNELSON" and "Snelston"; both surname and place name have since dropped the 't'.
The reference in the Domesday Book has been condensed as follows :-
"Randle ( Rannulfus ) holds Senelstune. Approximately 30
acres is taxable " ( hasn't it ever been so ! ) " producing
land. The balance, approximately 400 acres is uncultivated
or grazing land."
The Victoria History of Cheshire version is as follows :-
"(278) The same Ranulph holds Senelstune ( SNELSON in
Rostherne ). Leofnoth ( Levenot ) held it. There (is) 1
virgate of land that pays geld. The land is for 1/2 plough.
It was and is waste."
The original reads
"Isdem Rannulphus tenet Senelstune. Levenot tenuit. Una
virgata terrae geldabilis. Terra est dimidia carucata. Wasta
fuit et est".
Presumably then, Leofnoth ( a Saxon name ? ) held the land at the time of the Conquest, but by 1086 it was in the hands of Ranulph.
Ranulph was a Norman, although Rannulfus, Randulfus and Randal(l) are probably derivatives of an old English name meaning "shield" and "wolf". It is a very old name, dating from well before the Norman Conquest ( The Great Australian and New Zealand Book of Baby Names - Cecily Dynes 1985 ). Ranulph evidently according to claims by his descendants and namesakes came with William the Conqueror to England in 1066 and was an ancestor of the Mainwaring family. Burke's General Armoury of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales has it that after receiving a grant of fifteen lordships in Cheshire, Ranulph founded Peure - now known as Over Peover in Cheshire.
In the time of Philip de Orreby, Justiciary of Chester from 1209 to 1229, Snelson and the adjacent lands were granted by Ralph de Meinilwarin, or Mainwaring, to Henry de Aldithelegh in free marriage with Bertrea, his daughter.
The College of Arms in London records that Arms were granted to "Sneston", probably a derivation of Snelston, in 1633 - being a black scythe on an argent background.
The arms were recorded in the Heralds Visitation of London in 1633-34 and are registered in the name of Roger SNELSON under a reference 2C24,354. Although he signs his name SNELSON, the pedigree has the surname of the other people spelt Snelston with the letter 'l' crossed out .... leaving the letters Sneston unadulterated, if you will. There is a dotted line between Roger
SNELSON's father, Richard Sneston of Foxbanck and supposed grandfather, as shown on the copy I have from the College of Arms, and this dotted line appears on the original.
The Heralds Visitation system began in 1530 and lasted until 1689. Under this system, commissions were issued by the sovereign to the kings of Arms to visit the counties of England & Wales approximately every 30 years or so to record the arms and pedigrees of families and gentry resident in each county.
Arms that were recorded where there were no previous records of a grant might be allowed on the basis that they had been used continually since before 1415 when King Henry V issued a writ to the sheriffs of various counties stating that in future men might not ASSUME arms and that a right to any new arms could only be acquired by receiving a grant from a competent authority ..... presumably himself or his delegates, the Heralds or kings of Arms.
The arms referred to were allowed under this provision .... that of long use. There is no crest.
My old records show that the arms might be blazoned
THE BLADE IN CHIEF
AND THE HANDLE IN BEND SINISTER SABLE
This means a black scythe on a white or silver background .... normally in English heraldry, white, because silver tarnishes. It's all the rain they get you know.
The same coat in the same tinctures but with a black fleur de lis beneath the blade of the scythe appears for the Sneyd family of Staffordshire on the Strangways Roll of circa 1450 where shield number 24 shows this coat for Sneyd. It has been suggested therefore ( by the Somerset Herald ) that perhaps the SNELSON coat was allowed in error .... it already being attributed to the Sneyd family earlier. Nevertheless, error or not, the deed is done. It is too late.
If it were possible to prove descent back in a straight male line to Roger SNELSON or I guess even to his brother Richard, then it would be possible to establish a right to the coat.
A list of gentlemen in Cheshire recorded in 1580 under a reference MJD 14,74 includes the name of John SNELSON of Astle in the Hundred of Maxfield ( Macclesfield ? ) in Cheshire. A grant of arms dated 11 April 1702 and registered under the reference Grants 5,76 to John Parker of Fallowes Hall in the parish of Alderley, Cheshire states that he was the son and heir of Robert Parker of Asle (sic) in the parish of Prestbury by Ann his wife only daughter by the first wife and one of the co-heirs of John Snelston of Asle, aforesaid, gentleman.
Going back to the original record of the Visitation of London 1633-34, the pedigree written on the back of the SNELSON pedigree is one of a family called Dugdale. This is under the same reference number C24,354 ......BUT, 354 IS A FOLIO NUMBER NOT A PAGE NUMBER! I think this means, but I have not had this confirmed, that the two entries are not only adjacent, but indeed the same entry.
The pedigree shows that Robert Dugdale of London, a cloth worker in 1634, married Alice, daughter of John Snelston of Foxbank in Cheshire. As you can see, our old mate Roger SNELSON who was awarded the arms was the son of Richard SNELSON described as of Foxbanck ....... so what's the relationship here one might ask?
I also note that George Fallowes gets a guernsey (mention) in the page about the SNELSON Township entitled Parish of Rostherne. This mentions the Parkers of Astle too. The 1" ordinance survey map also shows a place called Fallowes Hall close to SNELSON township. The plot thickens...........