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Wiltshire Community History

Wiltshire History Questions Search Results

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Question Date :

Monday 4th July 2011 10:03

Question:
My earliest known ancestor was a Wm Bayly b.1530-35, a broadloom weaver, lived in Chittoe (near Westwood), Bishop's Cannings Parish (at that time, now Bromham Parish), Wiltshire. I can find no indication of any of his ancestors in Wiltshire.

The Bayly Bayley Baily Bailey Baillie Baylie name is said to have come from Bailleul (West Flanders), then Balliol (as in Balliol College, Oxford)

Answer:
Bailey is a common name in Wiltshire and is normally derived from the title of a manorial steward or official, or can refer to someone who lived in the outer bailey of a castle. I am not surprised that you cannot find ancestors for William Bayly as the Bishop's Cannings parish registers do not begin until 1591 and parish registers did not exist at all until 1538. From the 1590s there are many Baileys in the registers of Bishop's Cannings.

Weaving was a commercial activity in Wiltshire from at least Saxon times and the wealth of medieval Salisbury, one of the eight largest and richest cities in England, was based upon wool and cloth production. There is little evidence of any Flemish weavers in Wiltshire in the 14th century and the nearest they came in the early 17th century was at Glastonbury in Somerset, where their settlement proved something of a fiasco. In 1659 Paul Methuen brought in Richard (Derricke) Johnson, a spinner from Amsterdam, and his family to introduce new techniques to the local industry in Bradford on Avon, while in 1674 James Brewer of Trowbridge brought Dutchmen to that town, from whence they were settled in other west Wiltshire towns.

I am afraid that we cannot help with any verification that William Bayly was from Flanders as we do not have any material indicating settlement of Flemish weavers in the county and Ken Rogers, the historian of the Wiltshire and Somerset Cloth industry, has not found any in his researches.

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