Location: Cornwall, England
Surnames/tags: Pridias Prideaux
Ancestral Memories: The Pridias family (early generations)
- Recorded by John Schmeeckle
- In April and May 2018, my ancestor Paganus de Pridias shared his life story, as did his descendants for several generations through Nicholas de Pridias, correcting the errors in the published Pridias/Prideaux pedigree.
- I discuss communicating with ancestors at this G2G thread: Communicating with ancestors.
- I will continue recording the stories of the lineage descending from Nicholas de Pridias in the future, as time permits.
(Apr. 14, 2018) Paganus Pridias was a man who owned a hilltop. This hilltop was very useful, because ships came on occasion to raid. The hilltop was a good place for defense. If the ship’s crew was unfamiliar with the neighborhood, Paganus Pridias’s hilltop was impregnable. This was the condition of Paganus Pridias. Paganus Pridias was not a wealthy man. He had a bit of land, and a family that was well respected. Paganus Pridias was expected to become one of the local leaders.
Paganus Pridias married the daughter of a leader who was steadfast in his opposition to the encroaching Normans. Paganus Pridias intended to negotiate when the Normans reached the area that Paganus Pridias lived in. Paganus Pridias intended to ensure that his sons were able to inherit. Paganus Pridias ensured that this would happen.
Paganus Pridias ensured that his sons would continue and not be cut down by Norman invaders. Paganus was able to do so because he acted against the will of his wife’s father. This cost Paganus. Paganus was unable to prevent his wife from leaving him and rejoining her father. Paganus understood that his wife would never yield. Paganus decided that the future of his sons was more important than the pride of his wife and her father. Paganus sacrificed his marriage.
Paganus did so with the knowledge that his father-in-law would raise a troop of men to counter what Paganus was trying to do. Paganus understood that, if it came to combat, Paganus would have to side with the Norman invaders. Paganus did not fight. Paganus was able to avoid open combat. Instead, Paganus was attacked in his home by his brother-in-law.
Paganus understood that he could not kill his brother-in-law. He had to defeat him, but not kill him. Paganus wanted to not have any blood on his hands. Paganus wanted his brother-in-law to accept that Paganus wasn’t inclined to kill him. Paganus wanted his brother-in-law to yield. Paganus understood that his brother-in-law was trying to kill him. Paganus wanted his brother-in-law to think. Paganus was trying to fight and not lose. Paganus’s brother-in-law was trying to fight and win.
Paganus combatted his brother-in-law for the better part of an hour. Paganus understood that he would fail if he tired. Paganus understood that his brother-in-law was in better shape than Paganus. Paganus understood that, if he was vanquished, his sons would lose their inheritance. Paganus wanted to end the fight. Paganus wanted to ensure that his brother-in-law was mercifully defeated. Paganus knew, after the fight had dragged on, that his brother-in-law didn’t have the intention of killing him. Paganus was aware that his brother-in-law was looking for an opportunity to leave.
Paganus wanted his brother-in-law to simply back off. Paganus wanted his brother-in-law to end the combat. Paganus yielded. Paganus knew that, if he stumbled, his brother-in-law would harm him. Paganus yielded, and his brother-in-law simply left.
Paganus wanted to think that this was the end of the problem. The Normans were close. Paganus understood that, if he invited the Normans to the hilltop, he would be safe. Paganus understood, if he did that without a force of men, he would be (held in contempt). Paganus ensured that men loyal to him were in the hilltop fortification. Paganus wanted the Normans to accept that he had men under his command. Paganus invited the Normans to enter, with the condition that his men be allowed to keep their weapons. Paganus knew, because of the general feelings, that his men would be inclined to attack the Normans. Paganus wanted to ensure that this wouldn’t happen. Paganus told each one of his men that, after the Normans ensured that this area was subdued, he would be remembered as one of Paganus’s men. This had the effect of making the man realize that he was already associated with the Normans. Paganus wanted his men to accept this. But the opposite happened.
Paganus was suddenly without men. All of his men left. Paganus was alone with the Normans. Paganus wanted to be treated with respect. Paganus knew, because of what he did, that he would not have the respect of his men. Paganus understood, after he gave the hilltop to the Normans, that he and his men would never have been able to defend it. Paganus had saved the lives of many men. Paganus understood that the men would not accept this. Paganus simply knew that he had done the right thing.
(Apr. 15, 2018) Paganus Pridias was able to convince five men, who had been retainers of his family, to stay with him. These five men gave Paganus the appearance of being a commander. This saved Paganus. Without these men, Paganus would have been a puppet. With the five men, Paganus had the ability to kill. And this ensured that the Normans respected Paganus, even as they made decisions about the hilltop without talking to Paganus.
Paganus knew that he was unable to challenge the Normans. Paganus knew that the Normans had targeted the hilltop. Paganus knew, because of this, he was not giving anything up. Paganus simply accepted the situation.
Paganus wanted to make sure that the Normans understood that Paganus wanted to cooperate. Paganus understood that the way for cooperation to be secured was to arrange a marriage. Paganus had three sons. Paganus understood that one of his sons was unsuited to marry. The son had a disability. Paganus also understood that, if the son who married a Norman was unfaithful, there would be a reprisal. Paganus had to choose the son who Paganus thought was most likely to be able to cooperate with the Normans.
Paganus chose his younger son. Paganus understood that the elder son already had been thinking of making a marriage alliance. Paganus knew that his elder son was inclined to question what Paganus had done. Paganus suspected that part of this was the talk from the family that Paganus’s eldest son was considering allying with.
(Apr. 15, 2018) Paganus was able to establish that he was a man with followers. He had armed men who would risk their lives to defend him. Paganus Pridias was able to demonstrate that he had a group that he could use to enforce the new order. Paganus Pridias was able to convince the Norman leader that he would be able to get the cooperation of the people. This was what the Norman leader needed. If the people didn’t cooperate, then the Normans had to leave soldiers behind. This meant that the Normans had to slow down as they brought Cornwall under their control.
Paganus was able to be reinstated as the local protector. The people accepted that the Normans were unstoppable. The people resented Paganus, because he didn’t try to fight. But because he didn’t try to fight, this area was in a better condition than nearby areas. Paganus had brought benefit, although the people didn’t feel that they had benefitted.
Paganus was able to eventually get the people of his area to accept the new way. This was not much different from the old way. Paganus was elevated. Old leaders were demoted. Pagansus’s younger son married the daughter of a Norman knight. This helped ensure that Paganus would be able to work positively with the Normans. This helped make sure that Paganus’s family continued.
Paganus was able to be in charge of his hilltop for three decades after the Normans came. Paganus saw the consequences for the leaders who had resisted. The Normans knew who they were. The Normans made sure that they were unable to get any benefits. This made the former leaders powerless. They were unable to arrange marriages for their sons or grandsons. Three of them, late in Paganus’s life, approached him. They asked him to help them find suitable wives for their grandsons. Paganus was unable to even consider this. The Normans would have been extremely irritated if Paganus had acted this way. Paganus did not say so, however. Paganus simply reminded them that Paganus had acted for the benefit of the community. This was the only response that Paganus gave them.
(Apr. 18, 2018) Paganus Pridias was of a mind to consider that he was fortunate. Paganus had not had a successful marriage. His wife never returned to him. Paganus had been separated from the leaders of the community. Paganus had been forced to make a new alliance with the victorious Normans. Paganus was able to find a Norman wife for his second son. Pagnas’s eldest son married a Cornish woman. He had three daughters. His daughters married into families of new leaders. Paganus knows that these families continued, and perhaps they still exist. Paganus ensured that his family survived, and was pleased to witness through the centuries that it occasionally flourished.
[Addition May 14, 2018: Paganus Pridias understands that later generations forgot the actual lineage. Paganus has been reminded by his descendants that his recollection was also faulty. Paganus now corrects his earlier statement. Paganus was followed by his son Richard. Richard had a son, another Richard. This Richard had two sons, Richard and Hector. Richard had a son Baldwin, and his younger brother Hector had a son Richard, who inherited the Pridias hilltop after Baldwin died without a male heir. This Richard was the father of Nicholas. This corrects the error that Baldwin was the father of Nicholas.
Paganus Pridias was able to continue honoring his ancestors when he was a man. Paganus Pridias remembered his father. Paganus Pridias was able to speak with his father’s grandfather. This was a man who gave advice, as Paganus was able to give advice to six of his descendants.]
(Apr. 19, 2018) Paganus Pridias was able to be a good leader. Paganus Pridias was able to ensure that his community was not harmed. Paganus Pridias was able to ensure that five families became leaders. This meant that Cornishmen continued to rule. This was not the case in many other areas. Cornishmen were deprived of their land. Normans were given the land. Cornishmen fought against their new rulers. Normans alone could be killed. But when Normans gathered to take revenge, Cornishmen could not survive. This meant that occasional rebellions led to leading Cornish families being exterminated. Paganus was able to avoid this in his general area. Paganus was the leader of a conquered people.
(Apr. 24, 2018) Richard Pridias was the son of the leader of his community. Richard Pridias knew, because of how his father became the leader, that he was in an uncertain position. Richard Pridias understood that, if he was going to be able to follow his father as a leader, he would have to balance the will of the Conqueror with the will of the community. Richard Pridias was successful, except for one terrible problem.
(Apr. 28, 2018) Richard de Pridias is the way that people would speak. But now Richard will speak in the modern way. Richard Pridias was unable to avoid the problem of how to balance his family life. Richard had an elder brother. This brother wanted to be the heir of his father. This brother was married to a Cornish woman. This woman was from a family that was under suspicion. This meant that the Norman conquerors would be opposed to his brother becoming the leader of the area around the Pridias hilltop. This meant that Richard would become his father’s heir.
Richard knew, if he wanted to have a good leadership, that he would have to eliminate his brother. Somehow, his brother would have to leave. Richard didn’t think about this problem. He simply recognized it. Richard knew, after his father had (acquiesced) to the Norman control of Cornwall, that he would have the opportunity to marry a Norman woman. Richard didn’t think that this was important. Richard simply accepted his father’s will.
Richard was given the daughter of a senior commander. This commander was not a baron. He was a fighter, who took orders. He was able to be respected because of his ability as a commander. This meant that he would be available if Richard had any difficulty. Richard was not displeased.
Richard wanted to have a good family. Richard hoped that, if he was careful, his children would be accepted by the people and by the Normans. Richard understood, because his wife was Norman, that he would not be seen as a part of the community. He would simply have to accept that. And this is what happened.
Richard wanted his wife to be happy. Richard hoped that his wife would be able to find companions in the community. Richard thought that one or two of the women might become companions of his wife. Richard helped these women. And one of them became a regular companion of his wife.
Richard had six children. Three of them lived. Richard knew that this was not as good as some families. Richard understood that, because of his position, he needed to ensure that his son was trained to be a leader. This meant that Richard was under the obligation to be present when Richard’s son made decisions. This took time, and Richard was unable to do this as much as he wanted.
Richard had two sons. The eldest was Baldwin. Baldwin was a Norman name. Baldwin was the name of Richard’s wife’s father. Baldwin was the obvious choice for the name of Richard’s first son. This was because Richard depended on Norman power. And this was approved.
Richard was able to name his second son after himself. Richard didn’t want to name his second son after his father. This would have seemed to be an act of rebellion. Richard reluctantly decided to not give his father’s name to any of his sons. This was also approved.
(Apr. 29,2018) Richard Pridias was able to follow in his father’s footsteps. Richard became the leader of the community. Richard became the lord of the hilltop. Richard knew, because the hilltop had wooden fortifications, that this was recognized as a castle. This was important to the Normans. The Normans didn’t feel secure without castles. Richard had the only castle in this area. And Richard was allied by marriage with the Normans. This meant that Richard had status and the Normans were able to count on Richard to support them.
This meant, occasionally, that Richard and his soldiers were required to help the Normans. This meant that Richard and his soldiers were able to stop everything when people wanted to rebel. Richard and his soldiers simply cut down the leader. This was different from what the Normans did. The Normans burned the villages. This meant that Richard had to impose the Norman authority. Richard did this without thinking. Richard knew, if he was able to do this, that the villages wouldn’t be burned.
(Apr. 30, 2018) Richard Pridias was able to keep the peace in his area. Richard became available to help keep the peace in neighboring areas. People eventually realized that, when Richard was involved, there was less mayhem. This helped Richard to be known as a good ruler.
Richard Pridias understood that, because of his family’s loyalty to both Cornish and Norman families, Richard had to be able to make difficult decisions. This was something that Richard did without careful thought. Richard simply acted as the situation seemed to demand. This was perhaps an advantage. There was often no good choice.
A word from Paganus Pridias
(May 9, 2018) Paganus Pridias was able to be in contact with his son Richard. Paganus Pridias continued to give advice as Richard Pridias became the lord of the hilltop. Paganus was able to experience the pleasure of seeing his family continue. Paganus had been worried. Paganus did not know if his son was able to continue in the way that Paganus had acted. Paganus had nothing to worry about.
Richard Pridias, son of Richard
Richard Pridias was the son of a man who ruled an area that had stayed peaceful. This area didn’t have any old stories of massacres. Richard Pridias understood that, because many of the old powerful families had disappeared, there was not much inclination to be rebellious. Richard Pridias was content to rule his hilltop. Richard Pridias was able to marry the daughter of a Norman lord. Richard Pridias was not in charge of many men. Richard Pridias had the responsibility of holding the hilltop and sending for help. This was something that Richard Pridias never had to do.
Richard Pridias had two sons: Hector and Richard. Richard was the elder son. Richard inherited the hilltop. Richard (who is speaking) understands that his son Richard had a son Baldwin. Baldwin had no son who lived. For this reason, Hector’s grandson Nicholas Pridias became the lord of the hilltop.
Hector Pridias, son of Richard
Hector Pridias was his father’s second son. Hector Pridias was unable to be important. He was the younger son, and his brother was the lord. Hector had a wife who was from a Cornish family. Her family was not one of the leading families. Her father was able to give Hector a piece of land. This is what Hector used to support his family. Hector was also one of the commanders at the hilltop. This gave Hector status, even though he had little in this world.
Richard Pridias, son of Hector
Richard Pridias understood, after he became thirteen years old, that he would inherit the hilltop. Richard Pridias was fortunate in his name. Richard Pridias understood that, because his father was not the son of a lord, many people would be reluctant to obey him. Richard Pridias understood, after becoming the lord, that he would have to ensure the respect of the people. Richard simply didn’t have the accumulated authority of ancestors who were lords. Richard was able to act cautiously with the help of his ancestor Paganus. Richard understood that, because of his ancestor’s advice, Richard repeatedly avoided serious errors when dealing with his subjects. Richard Pridias wasn’t able to have a large family. Richard Pridias was only able to have a single son. Richard Pridias wasn’t able to be good to his people. Richard Pridias lived during the time of a great war. The war continued for ten years, and then Richard was given leave to return to his hilltop. Richard Pridias was unable to stay away from the war. This will be the story that Richard will tell next time.
(May 12, 2018) Richard Pridias was taken in the requirements of the king. The king was unable to make the whole country accept his rule. The king had a cousin who insisted that she was the correct ruler. This made Richard unable to be close to his family. Richard was obligated to serve. Richard understood that, because of the war, he was unable to care for his hilltop. Richard understood that, because of the situation, Richard was unable to protect his family. Richard knew, if there was a terrible problem, Richard would be given leave to return. Richard also knew, if he had to leave the service of the king, he would be unable to be considered one of the king’s loyal men. Richard never left. Richard served with the king. Richard understood, because the war continued, that his son was unable to benefit from having a father. Richard understood, because he was able to communicate with his ancestor, that his son was being protected. Richard understood, because of his ability to communicate with his ancestor, that his son also had this ability. Richard didn’t hope to be able to train his son. Richard understood that his ancestor would train his son, as his ancestor had trained Richard. (This is all that Richard will say.)
Another word from Paganus Pridias
Paganus Pridias was unable to simply observe the proceeding of the generations of his family. A family crisis forced Paganus to be active. Paganus was the one to choose. The son and grandson of Paganus had not dealt with the time of crisis of division. They did not have the experience of balancing between two different sides. This is what Paganus taught to his descendants. Paganus was able to ensure that his descendants were able to be careful. Paganus understood that he had to be very cautious. Paganus had a descendant who was a young man in charge of his father’s hilltop. Paganus understood that, in Cornwall at that time, there was division. Paganus didn’t have the sense that the division was strong in the area that the hilltop was in. Paganus simply understood that this was a constant threat. For that reason, Paganus understood that it was important for his descendant’s son to be attentive to the wishes of leading families. If the Pridias family was able to balance the desires of the leading families, then a division would not grow in the community. And this would mean that families would be unlikely to choose opposite sides in the ongoing war.
Richard Pridias (continued)
Richard was able to return. After ten years of service. Richard was able to return to the hilltop. Richard understood that his son had been able to balance the families of the community. Richard had been very fortunate. He had been away from his land at a time of crisis. And his son had behaved in a worthy way.
Nicholas Pridias, son of Richard
(May 13, 2018) Nicholas Pridias was a man who had no father. Nicholas understood that his father existed. When Nicholas was very young, Nicholas saw his father. But then Nicholas’s father disappeared. Later, Nicholas understood that his father was fighting. Nicholas understood that his father had to be with the army of the king. Nicholas understood that the situation in England was very difficult. A war continued for many years. This made people unable to trust each other. This made people afraid to start new projects. This was the England that Nicholas grew up in.
After Nicholas became old enough to make decisions in his father’s place, Nicholas was aided by his ancestor. Nicholas understood that his ancestor wanted to ensure that Nicholas avoided very bad mistakes. Nicholas was aware that sometimes he made decisions that were not good. But his ancestor didn’t say anything. Nicholas expected his ancestor to speak only when Nicholas thought of doing something that was harmful to the future of the family.
Nicholas made a mistake. Nicholas didn’t listen to the advice of his ancestor. Nicholas understood that his ancestor didn’t have all of the information. Nicholas was arrogant. Nicholas made an enemy. Nicholas had to deal with the consequences. Ever after that, the family of Nicholas was at risk. Afterward, the enemy died. And Nicholas made a point of being conciliatory toward the enemy’s son. This did not have a good effect. The enemy’s son didn’t want to forgive. Nicholas simply had to endure the situation.
Nicholas wasn’t able to continue. Nicholas’s father returned. Nicholas had become accustomed to making decisions. Nicholas understood that the war had not ended. Nicholas understood that the king had allowed Nicholas’s father to return for a year. Nicholas was able to change his way. Nicholas had become a man with the capability of acting independently. Nicholas wanted to continue in this way. But suddenly, Nicholas had to be obedient. This was difficult. Nicholas didn’t want his father to be with the hilltop. Nicholas hoped that his father would go back to serve the king. Nicholas thought that his way of thinking wasn’t correct. Nicholas wanted his father to understand that Nicholas was able to be a good son. So Nicholas tried to make sure that he didn’t show any resentment. Nicholas hopes that he was successful.
Nicholas died before his father left. Nicholas had a young son. Nicholas didn’t know what happened. Nicholas didn’t communicate with his ancestor. Nicholas didn’t receive communication from his son. Nicholas’s son was too young. Nicholas thinks that his father never thought of communicating with Nicholas. Nicholas knew that his father could communicate with their ancestor. Nicholas expected to communicate with his father after his father died. But Nicholas died first.
Nicholas will add: Nicholas married a woman from Nicholas’s community. Nicholas understood his ancestor’s advice. Nicholas looked for the daughter of an important man who had sons. Nicholas had three brothers-in-law. This meant that Nicholas was able to give two of them positions on the hilltop. Nicholas had family members that he could trust. And Nicholas’s father-in-law became more important. This helped keep peace in the community. And this is all that Nicholas will say.
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