History of the Mortimer family



My interest in family history began when I was about six. My father, holding my hand as we walked along, told me that our family had come over to England with William the Conqueror about thirty-three generations ago. I had already learnt about the Battle of Hastings from a Ladybird book and immediately pictured the illustration of the Norman knights charging up Senlac Hill. To hear one of that bunch was a Mortimer impressed me mightily. Even more impressive was a piece of paper that my father showed me when we got home. Old and fairly creased, it listed the names of those early Mortimers. On the other side of this piece of paper, which I handled like a holy relic, was a family tree drawing the connection between John and Patience Mortimer, who married in 1790, and me.

Medieval Mortimers




NRA list of family papers

I still have that piece of paper. It has now fallen apart along its creases but it is possible to make out in my father's youthful writing the names and dates of the medieval and modern families of Mortimer. Virtually every date and most of the names are wrong. The medieval family tree was copied from a Victorian history work, which in turn had been copied from a fifteenth century manuscript in French written at Wigmore Abbey and first printed in Dugdale's Monasticon in the seventeenth century (the original is now in Chicago). The modern part was copied by my father from the family bible, so it has fewer errors. But I did not look for mistakes; I was inspired.

Ian Mortimer

Last updated 26 April 2001