My cousin Linda has been doing genealogical research for some years now for the Hord family (Hord is my maiden name and therefore my patrilineal ancestry) and has recently come into possession of a volume entitled “Genealogy of the Hord Family” by Rev. Arnold Harris Hord, Philadelphia, copyright 1897. His research confirms the work my Aunt Lois had done many years ago – with the common ancestor who first came to America (John Hord, son of Sir Thomas Hord, Knight of Cote in Bampton, County Oxford) to the Virginia colony in the late 17th century. It’s quite exciting to me to read these histories. The earliest references are from the year 1215, and the Hords are said to have been Norsemen who settled in England before that time. The raven, that sacred symbol of many Scandinavian peoples, is still in my family’s coat of arms. The 1215 reference is about a gift Henry de Hord made to King John. Later generations were knights, esquires, barristers (one was Attorney General during the reign of Henry VII), Sheriffs of Salop (what is now known as Shropshire) – and there was even one murderer in the 14th century. Luckily he was pardoned by King Edward III because of his wartime service to the Earl of Stafford, but he fell eventually in Burgundy, among the English caught up in the fray during the time of Joan of Arc. John Hord, our first American ancestor, was involved in the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth against James II, and those who were not executed chose to make their fortunes in the New World. Several members of the family seem to have been engaged in the rebellion, and good old Sir Thomas was imprisoned in Oxford Castle for a time after the defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor.
I would like to share one lovely passage written to an ancestor, Alan Hord of the Middle Temple, by his brother, the Rev. Edmund Hord (apparently many of them were lawyers and clergymen as well as landed gentry) during the realm of Henry VIII. It seems the King needed more money for his military campaigns against the French and the Scots and decided the Church was a good place to go knocking. Rev. Hord had little choice but to comply, as resistance to such requests in the time of Cromwell often meant torture on the rack, or worse. The original of the letter can be found in this collection.
THE HORD FAMILY IN ENGLAND.
” EDMUND HORD. In All Soul’s College, Oxford, are these arms : Or, on a chief a Cornish chough ppr. over which was written, ‘Edm. Horcl Juris Canonis Doctor.’ He became Fellow of this house 1504 and was a benefactor thereto. (Gutch’s ‘Oxford,’ 111,30.) June 10, 1510, for the degree of D.C.L. (Doctor Canon Law) inley alia (among other things) supplicated Edm. Hoorde, Batchelor of the Civil Law of All Soul’s College, some time Principal of Greek
Hall, afterward Principal of Burnell’s Inn, alias London College. (Wood’s Fasti Oxon.’)
” May 25, 1513. Edmund Hord, of All Soul’s College, admitted Doctor of Canon Law. About this time he was a noted advocate in the Court of the Arches and Procurator of the Charter-house near London ibid (in the same place). At the dissolution of Hinton Charter-house near Bath in 1540, Edmund Hord, the Prior, was assigned a pension of 44 pounds. In Ellis’s‘ Original-Letters,’ 2nd series, 1827, volume iv. page 130, is a letter from him dated at that place, ‘To hys brother Alan Horde in the Medylle Tempulle.’
” This letter, from the prior of a Carthusian monastery to his brother, probably explains the feeling of a large portion of the heads of religious houses at the time of the suppression. They were called upon to give up that ‘Which was not theirs to give,’ – that which was dedicated to the Almighty for service to be done to his honor continually, and limited in its distribution to deeds of charity. They yielded to necessity. Willis says that Henton was surrendered to the king by the prior and nineteen monks, March 31, 1539, –
“In owr Lord Jhesu shall be your salutation. And where ye marvelle that I and my brotherne do nott frelye and voluntnrilie geve and surrendure upe owr House at the mocyone off the Kyngs Commissinars but stonde styffe (and as ye thynke obstenatelye in owr opynion) trulye Brothere I marvel1 gretlye that ye thinke soo ; but rather that ye wolde have thowght us lyght and hasty in gevyn upe that thynge whyche ys not owrs “to geve, but dedicate to Allmyghtye Gode for service to be done to hys honoure contynuallye, with othor many goode dedds of charite whiche daylye be done in thye Home to owr Christen neybors. And consideryng that ther ys no cause gevyn by us why the Howse shull be putt downe, but that the service of Gode, religious conversacion off’ the bretherne, hospitalite, almes deddis, with all other owr duties be as well observyde in this poore House as in any religious Howse in thys Realme or in Fraance ; whiche we have trustyde that the Kynges Grace wolde considere. But by cause that ye wrytte off the Kyngs hye displeasure and my Lorde Prevy Sealis, who ever hath byn my especialle good Lorde, and I truste yette wyll be, I wyll endevere my selffe, as much as I maye, to perswade my brotherne to a comfformyte in thys matere; soo that the Kyngs Hynes nor my Sayd good Lorde shall have eny cause to be displeside with us; trustyng that my poor brothern (whiche knowe not where to have theme lyvynge) shall be charitable looke upon. Thus our Lord Jhesu preserve you in grace.
“Henton X. die ffebruarii
To hys brother Alen Horde in ” Medylle Tempulle ” dd.”