The P*rr*tt Society is registered with the Guild of One-Name Genealogical Studies for those interested in the history of Perrotts, Perretts, Parrots, etc. The very knowledgeable volunteers who run it have done a fantastic job for over 30 years and I strongly recommend joining if you are connected.
My interest is the Perrotts of Wales, in particular Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. The family's ancient origins, together with the spread of its many branches to all quarters of the globe, provide a fascinating story spanning almost two millenia.
Walter Perrott (c1690-1756), a mariner of Laugharne, was my 6 x great-grandfather. He is the earliest confirmed ancestor we've found so far but there are sources yet to be explored that may help trace his line much further back. If you are also interested in researching this family do please get in touch - collaboration is a key Wikitree objective!
Laugharne was a "vyllage" of 90 houses with 459 residents according to the Customs Revenue accounts of 1566.  After the 'Acts of Union' it grew steadily and by 1670 was a small but thriving port and market town. Its population in 1695 of around 600 was comparable to more recent times.
The fortunes of the township declined during the second half of the nineteenth century. This reflected a significant reduction in its harbour traffic following the arrival of the railway in 1851 at nearby St Clears, which was a direct competitor to the sea-carrying trade.
Current Research: 17th Century Bibles in Africa & Australia
Above is a Victorian copy of a 1781 manuscript entry in the family bible which was taken to South Africa by Robert Rees Perrott (1866-1938) when he emigrated from Llanelli in 1896. The extract records a dispute in 1755 about a pew in Laugharne church involving James Perrott and the Row family. It is from a collection of family history documents written by Robert's sister, my great grandmother Emily Jane (Perrott) Lewis.
We have studied the bible first hand in Durban and found her transcriptions of the many handwritten entries to be meticulously accurate. It was printed in 1634 and purchased from William Skyrme (a Portreeve of Laugharne) of Island House by Robert's great-grandfather Walter Perrott in 1781 for the sum of 45s/6d, nearly £400 at today's prices.
Victoria State Librarian's Report on the 1615 Perrott Family "Barker" Bible
The family bible owned by Walter's father James Perrott has fortunately also survived and is now in Australia. Its rich marginalia, as summarised above by a Victoria State librarian in 1983 has proved invaluable for our research. His description promised much: "Extensive genealogical notes on these and other members of the Perrott family of Boshaston [sic], Pembrokeshire continue throughout the Psalms, from which it is likely a lengthy genealogy of the family could be constructed."
Earliest 'Perrott' entry in the family bible now in Australia
1755 Laugharne Vestry Book pew dispute record & corresponding family bible 'Noat'.
The 1760 date of Walter's "Stile" as copied in the extract shown above, is somewhat problematic given his age at that time. His father James may have drowned in 1757, which might explain the unusual pattern of early ownership. The "Walter his book 1750" inscription could possibly be that of James' father Walter who died on January 20 1756.
It seems the bible was passed down from Walter's youngest brother Thomas, Portreeve of Laugharne in 1792, via his brother David. His great-granddaughter Ada Richardson (1860-1959) took it to Melbourne from Bristol when she emigrated with her sister Ann aboard the RMS Carthage to Adelaide in 1889, shortly after their younger brother James.
In 2019 the owner of the Australian bible kindly made available digital surrogates of all the manuscript additions. These will enable new graphological comparisons with other known examples of Perrott family handwriting and hopefully those yet to be discovered!
Current Research: Quaker Connections
The Religious Society of Friends in West Wales
George Fox by S. Chinn
"In 1688 George Fox visited Carmarthen, which served as a rallying point for the Quakers of Swansea, Tenby, Haverfordwest, and other unspecified districts. His object was to have monthly meetings settled regularly in good order. The minutes of the meetings thus regulated by Fox have been carefully recorded and kept. Burial places were also secured, that of Laugharne being probably the earliest in date. Marriages were solemnised in Quaker form, witnessed by the 'joining together in the Lord' of John Bowen & Mary Anthony in John Rees' mansion in Llansadurnen in 1712. Not all the monthly meetings, not all the apparatus of a finely strung organisation, not all the piety and good works, availed to attach Carmarthenshire to the Quaker faith. There is no gainsaying the Churchwardens' reports. In 1684 they tell of a Quaker and his wife, both excommunicated at Laugharne, of a Quaker and his wife both excommunicated in Llanboidy, the James Thomas who was distrained for not paying tithes in that year; of James Price the giddy-brained at Myddfai, and two reputed Quakers at St Ishmaels."Thomas Richards
Identifying these Laugharne excommunicants is a pressing desideratum for further study. Dr Richards goes on to describe the fate of two Friends from nearby Narberth: "The storm and stress were so severe that a few Quakers from Carmarthenshire joined with those from other counties in migrating to North America. The ink was hardly dry on the churchwarden’s report of 1684, that Francis Howell of Llandysilio was a schismatic Quaker, before he and his wife, Margaret Mortimer, decided to leave their native land. No doubt, the decision was helped forward by the distress laid upon him in this year for non-payment of tithe amounting to £1 19s 4d."
The presently anonymous husband and wife in Laugharne could have followed a similar route and this Pennsylvania Quaker Minute may be relevant: "Filed with the Haverford (or Radnor) Mo. Mtg. about 1684-5, is the certificate, undated, of "Alice Lewis, daughter of James Lewis of Llardevy [Narberth], Pembrokeshire," saying she "is clear from all men on ye acc't of Marriage." Signed by Alice, Margaret and Lewis Musgrave, Mary Morce, Mary Bowen, Mary and Henry Smith, Deborah Weston, Margaret and James Skone, Henry and Jone Hilling, Letica Pardo, James, Mary, and James Lewis, Anthony Tounson, Thomas Marchant, William Garret, John Perrot and David Morgan."
James & Mary (Stafford) Perrott - Quakers of Laugharne
Above is the transcription of a 1726 title deed for the Cross Inn Quaker Burial Ground, Laugharne purchased by Mary (nee Stafford), widow of James Perrott of the town. In 1742 Mary's nephew and devisee, John Stafford, leased land nearby, also formerly in her possession, for the erection of a Meeting House for The Religious Society of Friends. It was built, but then sold to "Storke of Laugharne for £80" in 1824 and by 1905 no remains were visible. The 1840 sketch below was described as the interior of the same building.
In 1827 Walter Perrott (1744-1833), who is my direct ancestor, wrote the following letter about his grandfather's brother, James Perrott (1674-1723), a Quaker of Laugharne. James' widow Mary (nee Stafford) had made lands over to the Society of Friends a century before and is the same person identified above in the lease of 1726. This is a significant discovery which reliably traces my family tree back a further generation.
The earliest records of the Courts Leet and Baron date from 1568: "The hundred of John Parrot, knight, held at the Guild Hall on 1st Oct 10 Elizabeth, before John Donn."
Sir John Perrot then held the Lordship at £80 per annum paid to the Earl of Pembroke before it was granted to him outright by Elizabeth 1 in 1575.
The Corporation History also records: "In 1660, the year of the Restoration of the Stuarts, the Portreeve, John Perrott, leads the rejoicing at the end of the 'sequestrators tyranny' as the Burial Register puts it. He pays Sir Sackville Crow, Lord of the Manor, £2.16s for "an ox to roast at the celebrations". The Common Walk was celebrated in great style. He says "Paid for one barrel of beer and tobacco on the perambulation, 15s."
Walter Perrott's grandson Thomas was also elected Portreeve by the Burgesses in 1792. He was a cordwainer of Roches Castle, (See Opp.) a property incorporating part of the medieval manor house owned in 1594 by Sir Thomas Perrot and adjacent to its ruins.
Thomas bequeathed the "whole right and title of Roches House" to his brother Walter in 1815 and it was still occupied by family members in 1851. This evidence confirms my direct ancestors as firmly established Laugharne residents from the end of the 17th century.
Further research in Laugharne Corporation's records of burgess admissions may shed new light on our family connections when they are made available to the public again following the re-opening of Carmarthenshire Archive Service in their new premises.
Current Research: Brook, Laugharne & Surrounding Parishes
Original Parish Boundaries & Brook House, Llanddowror - as it is today
The lineal descent from Sir Owen of Thomas Perrot ( who was placed at the Inns of Court by Sir James) was not disputed at the trial and is shown in his petition below:
Sir Owen Perrot of Haroldston, co. Pembroke, knt, had four sons, Robert, Thomas, Rhys and John.
Robert Perrot, the eldest son had no legitimate heirs.
Thomas Perrot, second son had a son, Sir John Perrot [rest faded]
Rhys Perrot, third son of had an illegitimate son named Rhys but no legitimate male heirs.
John Perrot, fourth son had a legitimate son, Thomas Perrot of Brooke, co. Carmarthen.
Thomas Perrot (b 1602) Esq of the City of London (the plaintiff) was the legitimate son of Thomas Perrot of Brooke, co. Carmarthen, gent, and so the male heir of Sir Owen Perrot.
A link between the Perrots of Brook and those of Llanybri (§ 2.3ii) has been suggested but is not supported by the records cited. Certainly both they and other related groups across the Tâf estuary in St Ishmaels and Kidwelly all existed from the late 15th century.
With frequent outbreaks of disease, especially smallpox, clearing the field of other suitable candidates, it is possible (but so far unproven) that my direct ancestor Walter was the son of John Perrott (b c1665) the son of John the Portreeve and Mary above. If so, he may be a great grandson of Watkin of Laugharne, who was probably a brother or cousin to Griffith Perrott of Llansadurnen. Both may well descend from an earlier cadet line of the Haroldston Perrots to the branch of the family that settled at Brook.
In the absence (to date) of a birth record, will reference or other direct evidence of his paternity, the conjectured relationship placing Walter as the son of John Perrott is supported, in addition to consistent dates and naming patterns, by the following :
"In South Wales there was a halt of some twelve years to the Norman conquest of the country, due to the recognition by William II of the claims of its king, Rhys ap Tewdwr, Hywel Dda's descendant, who had defeated his rivals at the Battle of Mynydd Carn in 1081. But on his death in 1093 all obstacles were removed; Glamorgan fell to Robert FitzHamon, Dyfed & Ceredigion to the House of Montgomery, Brecknock to Bernard of Neufmarche. All that was worth having went to French-speaking soldiers, from Monmouth to St. David’s; only the barren hills and remote wooded retreats were left to the country's ancient denizens. Such was the position in South Wales at the death of Henry 1 in 1135."Sir John Edward Lloyd
The customary Welsh patronymic forms, usually without surnames, were gradually replaced by sophisticated heraldic tabular charts.
Ancient bardic sources, on which the early history of many noble Welsh families relied, continued to be incorporated but often with creative embellishment. The 1848 edition of Burke still contained such imaginative constructions along with clear fabrications and was the subject of harsh contemporary criticism as a result. Its Perrot pedigree was memorably described in 1857 by Barnwell as "a tissue of mendacious absurdities."
The Perrot lineage in Wales is often uncertain, inconsistent and difficult to date accurately before the 1290s. Identifying later forgeries is clearly very important but modern historiography also takes full account of corroborating genealogies from early sources recording indigenous connections with the advenae. Pedigrees such as those of George Owen of Henllys and others in the 16th century, despite contradictions in chronology, preserve reliable traditions which provide valuable evidence for the intermarriage of the Perrots with the princely families of Wales during the 12th century.
"Who then were the Perrots?" asks Dr Roger Turvey - "The Perrots were a Pembrokeshire phenomenon and represent the classic tale of a family’s rise from obscurity to dominance in the space of two centuries. By the early 16th century they were powerfully planted in south-west Wales. At this time the family consisted of several branches settled [first at Jestyngton and later] at Scotsborough with its cadet at Tenby, Cheriton, Kidwelly, [Caerforiog, Oxford, Laugharne] and of course, the main line at Haroldston outside Haverfordwest. They were among the county’s largest landowners with estates scattered throughout the earldom and its constituent lordships. The family’s success was due to the hard work of talented individuals who ensured that each generation contributed something to enhancing their social, political and economic power."
JestyntonPele Tower House, Angle Bay &Haroldston(Steward's Tower), Haverfordwest Both early Perrot seats in Pembrokeshire
In 1589, soon after his return from Ireland, he was elevated to the Privy Council, but then suffered a spectacular downfall, being falsely charged with treason in 1590.
Lord Burghley masterminded a secretive, deadly attack on Perrot, in order to cover up the corrupt administration of Ireland after his departure by Burghley's late wife's cousin, William Fitzwilliam. Tried and found guilty in April 1592, he was not executed but died in the Tower seven months later, probably poisoned by his enemies fearing a pardon.
"Perrot, who did not conform as other men do, has never failed to excite and interest those who have come across his life story, tragic though its end may be. He is an attractive and influential figure certainly to be counted among the dozen second rank of supporting actors on the Elizabethan stage. In Pembrokeshire and Wales he dominated; in Ireland he ruled; and in England and in Court, he competed, and it was here he lost. Today it is he who is remembered and not those anonymous few who brought him down."R.K. Turvey
He came to England after surviving three years imprisonment in Rome. After a short period of preaching and a famous dispute with George Fox about wearing hats at prayer, he moved to Barbados in 1662 and later visited the Quakers of Virginia and Maryland. . His wife Elizabeth and two children joined him shortly before his death in Jamaica in 1665.
John's problematic orgins and amazing exploits were explored, albeit with somewhat questionable dramatic license, in an Irish TV programme broadcast in 2006.
Up to the 19th century Llan-y-bri, the birthplace of Thomas, was a bond village called Morabri (Marblechurch). Before 1536 it was part of Cantref Gwarthaf as a demesne manor of the Lordship of Llanstephan.
Thomas inherited property from his father John in 1726. He belonged to a firmly rooted Perrot family with branches settled first at Cydweli in the 15th century and later across the former Dyfedcommote of Penrhyn.
They may well have been a branch of the Scotsborough line. Probably descended from Thomas, a burgess of Kidwelly, who petitioned the Pope to marry in 1488, or his brother Robert. A Jankyn Perot also appears as a land grant witness at 'Morbilchurche' in 1534.
Good to see some of these profiles now featuring in family trees across the internet but it doesn't help others if they are not up-to-date, unattributed or inaccurately altered. Do check here for new data as often as you can and please cite this research when used.