Transcript of "The History of the I'Anson Family" by Brian I'Anson
The family of I’Anson is descended from the historic family of Forbes, of the nobility of Scotland. The present head of this family, Horace Courtney Gammell, 20th Baron Forbes, and Premier Baron of Scotland (whose seats are Castle Forbes and Putachie, in the County of Aberdeen), was born 24th February, 1829, and is now living, aged eighty-five years, unmarried. This family has been established in Scotland for upwards of one thousand years, the earliest known record being the marriage of Solvathius Forbes to Maravilla, a daughter of King Gregory the Great, in A.D. 870.
In the early part of the fourteenth century a member of the Forbes family settled in France, where by his marriage with Françoise d’Agoult, in the year 1325, he effected an alliance with one of the oldest houses in the French nobility.
His own patrimony, along with his wife’s dowry, gave him an established position in the Country, and the title of Comte de Forbin was conferred on him, which title still exists in france to this day.
When it became the custom to distinguish members of families by means of surnames, the descendants of the oldest branch of the de Forbins assumed the surname of I’Anson, or Janson, de Forbin.
The writer has perused many accounts, more or less accurate, written in regard to the descent of the family of I’Anson in England. In some an attempt has been made to suggest that, like many historic families, they came over with William the Conquerer, and other remark that "the family is descended from a family of the name in France who possess large territory in that Country, with the rank of Marquis or Count de Tourban, and bear the same arms as the English line."
It is true that the first of the family in England came over with a Conquerer, not, however, William, but Henry the Conquerer, and fought for him, not at the renowned Battle of Hastings, in 1066, but at the no less celebrated Battle of Bosworth in 1485, when King Richard III. was defeated and slain, and Henry of Richmond became King Henry VII. of England.
The error in the accounts where reference is made to de Tourban is probably due to imperfect handwriting, the "F" having been translated into "T", and the "Bin" into "Ban", and through no trouble having been taken to follow the family history further back than John I’Anson who fought at Bosworth.
This history of the family of I’Anson will endeavour to give the history of the family, first in Scotland, then in France, and finally in England, up to the present day. Every effort has been made by the Author to place on record all events in any way of historic interest to the family.
A history of this nature should be maintained in the future by careful record of events of family interest in the spaces provided for such towards the end of the volume, so that this book may be handed down from father to son, by each generation, to be kept up to date methodically.
The arms of the family in France are not, as stated in the passage quoted above, the same as those borne by the family in England. An illustration of these will be found facing the chapter on the de Forbins in France.
They are thus described:-
From an old record we find that the said John was the commander of a man-of war in the reign of Henry VIII. By some writers this dignity is ascribed to James I’Anson, his son, in these words: "Captain of a man-of-war in the reign of Henry VIII., and died in the King’s service." This is clearly inaccurate, as the will of James I’Anson, executed by him on 15th December, 1584, states that he was a Vintner residing in Cornhill. He died during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
Hawkswell, near Richmond, may be called the home of the I’Anson family. The parish registers, unfortunately, only begin in 1593, so that some of the earliest events are not on record; but many entries of considerable interest are contained therein, and the complete extract of all the entries is printed in this volume, together with extracts from various neighbouring parishes, to which members of the family migrated from time to time.
From the sixteenth century to the present time members of the family have borne prominent positions in many branches of life. We find the Church, the Law, Art, and Music, the Army, the Navy, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Institutes of Civil Engineers and Chartered Accountants, all well represented, and mention of this will be made in later chapters of this history. It will also be freely admitted that amongst the female members of the family are many who can well be recorded amognst the beauties of the land.
It was the usual custom of the Heralds to require proof of gentility for three generations before granting arms (hence the oft-repeated saying that it takes three generations to make a gentleman), and the grant of arms was made to all the descendants of the grandfather of the applicant, consequently all the members of the family whose names appear on the large pedigree bound in this volume are entitled to bear the arms and crest as emblazoned on the page facing title of this book.
Before commencing the family history, one other point remains to be discussed, and that is the question of the family motto. Recently some members have adopted the words "Faire mon devoire," a very excellent motto, but not that adopted by Brian I’Anson, to whom the grant of arms was made in 1605.
"Faire mon devoire" is recorded as the motto of the Earls of Roden.
Other members have taken for motto the words "Nil desperandum," a motto
very generally adopted by the Royalists in the reigns of Charles I. and
Charles II., but recorded as the motto of Sir Thomas Heron, Bart. To clear
up this question the Author made a journey to Ashby St. Ledgers, to examine
the monument to Brian I’Anson, the original grantee, and with some trouble
deciphered the motto (allowing for ancient and somewhat phonetic spelling)
"Rien Sans Travaille." A more appropriate motto could not well have been
selected by the founder branch of a great and historic family.
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