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Of all the many surprises that I've had during the Turner Family history project, none is greater than the discovery of famous blood relatives on the Draydon side: ie English Poet Laurette & writer JOHN DRYDEN and JONATHAN SWIFT (Gulliver's Travels).  As well as various aristocracy, Earls and Barons, etc, the Bishop of Nottingham in Robin Hood days, and through the Princess DIANA SPENCER, the current young English royals William and Harry and their children.  Have I lost you yet!   It would have to be any genealogist's dream to uncover such illustrious people on the bloodline, but honestly I wasn't looking for any of this, so I am totally gobsmacked.  It certainly seems important and inspiring that this knowledge has been uncovered. 


These connections are fully documented in  Driden - Dryden - Dreadon The Histories and Mysteries of a Family Name by Brian Dreadon a distant cousin in New Zealand.  A hard cover copy of this 467 page book was shown to me by DESMOND DRAYDON, Dad's cousin, son of HAROLD DRAYDON  (Grandma Turner's brother).  I have since been in contact with Brian who has sent me an electronic version of this extraordinary book.  If you would like to see it, please contact me and I'll forward a .pdf copy. 


Meanwhile, here are some interesting excerpts:

Joseph Dreadon (b.1810 d. before 1861) the 5th son of John Dreadon and Mary Mark was the ancestor of the Draydons of Queensland Australia. He married Jane Tremayne in 1831 and the later census of 1861 has Jane living as a widow in Broads Farmhouse near Helland. It is difficult to ascertain the exact number of children born to Joseph and Jane as two infant deaths may be the cause of repeated Christian names.

Of the surviving children John Dreadon born in 1837 married and lived in Longstone Hamlet St Mabyn, Jane Dreadon born in 1843 married William Lanxon of Helland in 1861, and Susannah died as an unmarried mother in Blisland in 1895 aged 62.

A middle son Joseph Dreadon was born in 1839 at Lecudden and baptised at St Mabyn. He married Ann Maria Biddick in 1861 and shortly afterwards emigrated to Australia with his wife's parents and sister. Joseph's story is told in chapter 25. (below).



The thirteenth & later generations from Cornwall England

In which the descent of the family name from Cornwall is followed to Australia. Draydon to Queensland and Dridan to South Australia and Victoria.


Joseph Draydon was born on 14 March 1839 to Joseph Draydon and his wife Jane Tremayne in Lecudden farmhouse near Helland in Cornwall. Joseph senior was a brother of John Draydon the father of George and William Dreadon who emigrated to New Zealand in 1863 and 1865, making Joseph junior a first cousin to the New Zealand bound brothers.

Joseph Draydon 1839-1919

Joseph was married on 11 October 1861 at Helland Cornwall at the age of 22 as Joseph Dreadon. The two spellings of the family name were interchangeable among many of the family who were born near Helland where the spelling of Draydon had been favoured, while Dreadon was the spelling favoured in Blisland and Bodmin the few miles either side of Helland. Joseph's bride was the decidedly pregnant 17 year old Ann Maria Biddick, daughter of Matthew Biddick a farmer of Bodwen near Helland.


Their first son was John Draydon born on 22 November 1861. In late 1862 the small Draydon family emigrated from Cornwall England together with the Biddick family consisting of Ann's parents Matthew and Elizabeth and a younger daughter Mary Jane Biddick then aged 12. They embarked on the ship Everton from Birkenhead Liverpool on 4 November 1862 reaching Moreton Bay off Brisbane in Queensland Australia in mid February 1863. Both families were listed under the broad heading of agricultural labourers.

The Everton was at anchor at Moreton Bay on Friday 13 February 1863 when she was struck by a cyclonic gale, forcing a run out to sea. It was a day later when the winds eased and she made her way back to the Bay. On 17 November the Everton landed and discharged its 363 Government immigrants with the reported death of 12 during the voyage of whom most were children.

In Queensland Joseph found work on the construction of the Ipswich to Grandchester railway, living with Ann Maria in the railway camps while adding to their family another three children, George, Annie and Joseph junior. The Toowoomba extension of the railway was completed in 1867, which saw Joe Draydon put his family and possessions on a cart and head for the gold diggings of Darkey Flat near Warwick in Queensland. Joe and his brother- in-law Robert Fraser who was married to Jane Biddick, mined their “El Dorado” together.

Joseph Draydon stayed on in Darkey Flat as the gold mining declined, buying a farm to run cows and later breeding clydesdale horses. He died at Pratten aged 82 survived by his wife Ann Maria who died in 1928 aged 84.

Of their family, John Draydon the oldest son born in Cornwall married Margaret Wilson and had three children born in the Warwick and Darkey Flat area between 1887 and 1895 – Margaret, George and Matthew Draydon. Many of their descendants live in the Toowoomba area of Queensland.

George Biddick Draydon the second son was born in Pratten in 1863 and married Grace Elizabeth Beil. They remained in Pratten where they had a family of ten children between 1891 and1919 most of whom married in the Clifton and Toowoomba area. George's grandson Cliff Draydon's wife Valma von Pein of Toowoomba has collected much of the genealogical information presented here, her sharing of which has been appreciated.

Joseph Draydon junior the third son was born in 1966 and lived in Gum Flat. He married Christina Beil and had together a family of eight of whom only six survived to adulthood. Youngest son Harold's son Des Draydon a retired lawyer has taken time to visit the Dreadon family in New Zealand to reconnect the two branches of the family after nearly 150 years. Joseph Draydon junior died in 1931 and is buried in Pratten Queensland.

Ann Draydon born on 1868 was the fourth child and only daughter of Joseph and Ann Maria Draydon who married George Booth Lambley and produced six children; Charles, William, Lilian, George, Anne and Edward Lambley born in Pratten Queensland.

Further generations of the Draydon family of Queensland are listed in chapter 32, although I fear the genealogy may be far from complete




In which the academic and literary tradition combined with the study of canon & secular law within the Driden family is traced from the origins of the Sinclair de Driden family in Scotland down to the present through numerous pen portraits.

The Sinclair family of Roslin was the foremost patron of the literary arts in Scotland during the late 15th century. Family members William Sinclair the 3rd Earl of Orkney & Henry Sinclair 3rd Lord Sinclair were patrons of poets Sir Gilbert de la Hay & William Dunbar. Other Scottish Poets with connections to the Sinclair family were Robert Henryson & Walter Kennedy. Poet Gavin Douglas & William Sinclair de Driden both belonged to the “English faction” in Scottish politics after 1515 & both were accommodated in English exile by Lord Thomas Dacre of Lanercost Cumberland. The Scottish Sinclair connections continued with Patrick Hamilton Lutheran Protestant & Martyr.

Sir Anthony Cope is a significant figure in the Driden family's early English history; a celebrated intellectual, author & Protestant. He is followed by relatives through marriage Edmund Spenser, Sir Walter Raleigh, Job Throckmorton, Francis Quarles & Sir William Davenant. Back to the family line there are women of note; Anne Marbury Hutchinson Puritan preacher in the New World, the Cooke sisters with Sir Francis Bacon son of Anne Cooke - & Elizabeth Isham who so nearly married the Dryden heir .

John Dryden poet laureate and cousin Jonathan Swift hold special place, followed in the family circle by the diarist Samuel Pepys, London printer Dryden Leach & Sir Samuel Richardson who wrote at Canons Ashby. More distant Driden family descendants are Horace Walpole the originator of the Gothic novel & Oliver Wendell Holmes a Supreme Court Judge in America.

Of later centuries are James Dryden Hosken & Charles Hosken of Cornwall, sons of a Dreadon mother - poets, writers & publishers; followed by Latin Poet Allen Beville Ramsay great grandson of Maria Dryden of Canons Ashby & Vice Chancellor of Cambridge.
PC Dryden Mundy the family historian completes the chapter.

It is notable that the Driden family from Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire has within its family members, writers who are regarded among those of the first rank in English literature as well as other writers who met with varying degrees of success and fame. If marriage and extended family are included, the number continues to expand where-ever you look.

One notable writer might spring from any type of background, but when it is an established pattern within a family over centuries it draws the question as to why. A simple answer might be a tradition of higher education within arts, philosophy and theology and consequent social opportunity. Theology must be included, as it was closer to peoples’ lives in these earlier centuries and many of the universities taught from a religious outlook. Even if it included satire and the breaking away from older traditions, knowledge of established religious philosophy, of languages and of earlier traditions still formed a necessary part of a higher education that lay behind high literary achievements.

Those writers mixed with, and married into other literary families is not surprising, but even so there seems to be a conspicuous vein of literary endeavour that flows through the Driden family tree and down through the ages.

This lengthy chapter attempts to illustrate that the appearance of the Poet Laureate John Dryden was not the accidental flowering from a solitary seed, but the result of a family's cultivation of literature and learning across many generations and two countries. The discovery that the Driden family is descended from three generations of the Sinclair de DRIDEN – THE BOOK CULTURE & LITERARY CONNECTIONS

Driden family in Scotland now extends this family tradition back through its Scottish literary past. "


John Dryden 1631-1700

Called “Glorious John” by his biographer Sir Walter Scott, John Dryden "the greatest of all the Drydens", is an outstanding figure in the history of English literature, with the period 1660-1700 often being referred to as “the Age of Dryden”.

It is not intended here to write much about his rich life, as there are many well researched books published about his achievements. He was a prolific poet and dramatist who also wrote biting political satire. On his works it might be enough to simply quote a partisan summary from the Biography of John Dryden on the Poetry Foundation's website.

“After John Donne and John Milton, John Dryden was the greatest English poet of the seventeenth century. After William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson he was the greatest playwright. And he has no peer as a writer of prose, especially literary criticisms, and as a translator.”

“After Shakespeare he wrote the greatest heroic play of the century, The Conquest of Granada (1670, 1671), and the greatest tragicomedy, Marriage A-la-Mode (1671). He wrote the greatest tragedy of the Restoration, All for Love (1677), the greatest comitragedy, Don Sebastian (1689), and one of the greatest comedies, Amphitryon (1690).”

John Dryden was born on 9 August 1631 in Aldwincle Northamptonshire, the son of Erasmus Dryden and Mary Pickering. His grandfather was Sir Erasmus Driden, son of the John Driden the Scottish born “immigrant” from Cumberland and builder of Canons Ashby House.

After his marriage to Lady Elizabeth Howard, the sister of a collaborator Sir Robert Howard, the daughter of an Earl and from a Roman Catholic family, John Dryden converted from the Dryden family's traditional Protestantism. Very popular and influential in his day, he was made Poet Laureate to the King in 1667. He wrote many plays, including opera often with music by the great English composer Henry Purcell.

Dryden's plays and specially written lines made a star of the actress Nell Gwyn, mistress of King Charles II among others. The poet is said to have taken a mistress himself by 1672, the actress Ann Reeves.

In the 1670s Dryden began to be attacked in print by his rivals and he responded to equal if not superior effect. However it reached the point of a physical attack and a beating suffered by Dryden in Rose Alley in 1679. Who organised it or took part in it was spoken but never properly discovered, and failed as an attempt to quieten Dryden's criticisms and satire.

Dryden remained opposed to the revolution of 1688 that saw King James II flee the country and the Protestant King William of Orange ascend the throne. The retention of his Catholicism lost him his position at Court and from that time Dryden mainly translated classical writers including Virgil.

Described by many as being from the lesser gentry, the poet was nonetheless directly in the line of inheritance for his family's baronet's title. John Dryden was never knighted, but his grandfather's baronet's title for want of heirs descended down and around the poet, being his had he lived just another 10 years.

The title descended from his uncle Sir John Driden the oldest son of Sir Erasmus, to Sir John's son Sir Robert in 1658, then to another of the poet's first cousins Sir John by another uncle in 1708, and in 1710 to the poet's youngest and surviving son Sir Erasmus Henry Dryden. With his son's death in that same year of 1710, the title moved on to the poet's younger brother Sir Erasmus who died in 1718.


Dryden died on 1 May 1700 and was buried at St Anne's in Soho before being exhumed and reburied 10 days later on 13th May. His final resting place is near Chaucer and Edmund Spenser in “poet's corner” within the south transept of Westminster Abbey in London. The Dryden monument outside St Benedict's Chapel within the Abbey is a marble bust by sculptor Peter Sceemakers which was erected by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham some time after Dryden's death.

Jonathan Swift 1667-1745

Swift gains the title of the greatest of satirists in the English language from many commentators and critics. Although born of an English family and spending time in England, his birth and education in Ireland and the writing of many of his most famous works when later living in Dublin has often seen him described as an Irishman.

Jonathan Swift's paternal grandmother was Elizabeth Driden, daughter of Nicholas Driden and grand-daughter of John Driden of Canons Ashby. Elizabeth Driden married the Rev. Thomas Swift, vicar of Goodrich, near Ross, in Herefordshire. Jonathan Swift senior was the sixth of the ten sons and married at Leicester, Abigail Erick, or Herrick, who was of the family that had given to England Robert Herrick, the poet.


As Thomas Swift's eldest son, Godwin, was prospering in Ireland, four other sons, Dryden, William, Jonathan, and Adam, all in turn found their way to Dublin. Jonathan Swift junior was born on the 30th of November 1667, some seven months after the death of his father Jonathan. The facts about his early life are confused although it seems his mother Abigail returned to England at some early stage and left Jonathan to be raised by his uncle Godwin.


Swift's life is full of disabilities and set-backs encountered and also of opportunities taken. His uncle Godwin provided him with the best of early education by sending him to Kilkenny College, the “Eton of Ireland” where he was a contemporary and friend of the poet and dramatist William Congreve. From Kilkenny he moved on Trinity College at Dublin University in 1682, graduating with a BA in 1686. Abandoning his MA he moved to England in 1688 when political troubles arose in Ireland.


This should not be interpreted as Swift being an able or well-performed student. While he obviously spent time reading his loves of history and poetry, he often found the rigours of course and regulations a bit restrictive. In the end his BA degree was awarded to him by special grace rather than for achievement.


In England Swift managed to obtain a position in 1689 at Moor Park as secretary and personal assistant to Sir William Temple a retired diplomat and politician. It was in Temple's household where he met and took part in the education of Esther (Stella) Johnston an 8 year old girl who widowed mother had become a companion to William Temple's sister.


The only writings surviving from this period are some odes at which Swift was trying his hand. It may have been in response to this effort at poetry that John Dryden had made the famous judgement of “Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet”. While the comment might have seen the start of a prickly relationship between the two, it seems that Dryden's view was justly expressed, if none too diplomatic.


Swift left England briefly in 1690 for Ireland returning the next year when during his stay with Temple he again went back to his studies, receiving a MA degree from Hertford College Oxford University in 1692. In 1694 Swift left Moor Park again because of a dispute with his employer, returned to Ireland and took up a minor church position of prebend at Kilroot near Carrickfergus County Antrim in what is now Northern Ireland. The only thing of note from his time there seems to be his reason for leaving, as explained by Swift's surviving letter to Jane Waring of Belfast named this time as “Varina”, offering to marry her or to leave her.


Back once more in Temple's service at Moor Park in 1696 and remained there until Temple's death in 1699. From this period dates Swift's satire The Battle of the Books, written as an answer to critics of Temple's Essay on upon Ancient and Modern Learning of 1690, but not published until 1704.

Swift never found it easy to find patrons or positions of interest to him at this time and found himself again in Ireland, falling back on a church living at the rectory of Agher and the vicarages of Laracor and Rathbeggan to which he added the position of prebend of Dunlavin in St Patrick's Cathedral Dublin. To these he added chaplain to Lord Berkeley, spending time in Dublin and travelling to London frequently over the next several years.


In early 1702 Swift also obtained a Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity College Dublin, travelled to London, returning later in the year in the company of Esther Johnson now 20 years old to begin a lifelong love and friendship held at a slight distance that for unknown reasons never resulted in marriage.


From Ireland Swift now began to publish the writing that gained him his reputation, conspicuously with A Tale of a Tub and the Battle of the Books in 1704. As a consequence he formed relationships with other writers, particularly with Alexander Pope and John Arbuthnot core members with Swift of the Martinus Scriblerus Club from 1713.


The influence of his writing drew him more closely into political involvement in London, with the Tories recruiting Swift as the editor of The Examiner when they came to power in 1710. The Conduct of the Allies written in 1711 criticised the Whig Government for the war

that was dragging on with France. Then when the Tories came to power Swift found himself elevated to an influential role, active in keeping better relationships between the scrapping Secretary of State Viscount Bolingbroke and Prime Minister Robert Harley Earl of Oxford.

In 1714 this era came to an end with the death of Queen Anne, the ascension of King George I and the return of the Whigs to office. The best that Swift's friends could do for him was to obtain for him the deanery of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. Much of the political life of the time and Swift's art in it has been preserved in his letters back to “Stella” Johnston in Ireland. It is through Swift's letters that the world knows a great deal more about his life, copiously written between September 1710 and June 1713 and published as Journal to Stella.

However while in London Swift appears to have a romantic involvement with another Esther, Esther Vanhomrigh for whom Swift invented the personal name of “Vanessa” for his poetry; a popular name for the daughters of many a family since that age. It seems it was an involvement that Swift came to regret, as Vanessa followed him to Ireland in 1714 and in her pursuit of Swift with his inconstant attitude toward her, came to confront Esther Johnston about her relationship with him. “Vanessa” died in 1723.

Swift seemed a disappointed man, feeling as if he was in exile, but ironically it would be the next period of his life that produced perhaps his best works. Between the death of Vanessa and then Stella who died in 1728, Swift triumphed in popularity even though his feelings for his own life became depressed. The Drapier Letters published in 1724 captivated the public of Ireland, packaged as a series of pamphlets directed against the granting of the right to coin half-pennies for Ireland to someone with influence at court.

Then in 1726 came his ever-remembered work and his masterpiece, entitled Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in four parts, by Lemual Gulliver, now known as Gulliver's Travels. It immediately went to four printings and within a year was published in French, Dutch and German.

With the death of Stella, Swift was clearly heart-broken and couldn't bring himself to be at her funeral in St Patrick's. In 1731 he wrote for his own obituary Verses on the Death of Dr Swift which were published in 1739. A preoccupation with death continued to absorb him as his good friends in London John Gay and John Arbuthnot of the Scribblers Club died too.

His fear seemed to be of mental illness, but a continuing debate about whether he did indeed start to decline mentally has not been resolved. He seems to have suffered a stroke in 1742 and it was probably his inability to speak that influenced his friends to have him declared of unsound mind. Possibly this was to safeguard his finances as his ability to cope with everyday affairs faded away.

Dr Jonathan Swift died on 19 October 1745, and in the Irish tradition was laid out for the people of Dublin to pay their respects. He was buried together with Esther Johnstone the Stella of his love and letters in St Patrick's Cathedral Dublin. Discouraged with the latter part of his life and writing pointedly about the failings of the human personality, Swift also had a sensitive side. He was no orator but had a large impact on British politics with his popular satire and exposure of corruption, greed and pride in public figures.

His will left his fortune for the establishment of a hospital for the mentally ill in Dublin known as St Patrick's Hospital for Imbeciles which was opened in 1757. It still exists today in the form of the Jonathan Swift Clinic administered by St James Hospital in Dublin.

"DRIDEN – DRYDEN - DREADON The History & Mysteries of a Family Name

An account of the ancestors & descendants of John Driden the builder of Canons Ashby House including the ancestry of the Poet Laureate John Dryden



This is a book that started to be written as a short family history of the Dreadon family of Cornwall and Northamptonshire and then grew into a larger book as more information on the early history became available. The first half of the book is a more recent attempt to unravel the origins of the family in Scotland and the north of England, while the second part is a more straight forward and more succinct description of the later “Driden” family from Northamptonshire, Cornwall and New Zealand based on information acquired over previous decades.


Once a family descent from Scotland had become apparent, it seemed an obvious choice to expand the book and explore in more detail the stories waiting within the earlier Scottish historical records. But to structure this more extensive and researched work in a properly footnoted style would have made the book prohibitive in size and time, and an early decision was made not to present it as an academic work.


A compromise has instead listed all the principal sources of information on family events within the bibliography at the back of the book. Further background information on political and other historical events has been taken from general reference books and other families' histories, but hopefully all the critical Driden family information can have its source identified reasonably quickly from within the bibliography.


At its core the book relies on as much of the published or archived material as it is possible to access on the internet or from purchasing out of publication books. It begins with an exploration of those who were known by the Driden name in one or more of its various spellings within Scotland beginning from the 1200s and in England from 1481.


It follows individuals and families using the Driden name as they descend within Scotland and move outward in the 1500s, but the narrative always returns to the Driden line that descends through Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire and through Cornwall with the consequent emigration to Australia and New Zealand. The reason for that structure is simply because this was to be a book about my own family history. It certainly did spill out into an investigation of other Driden families now often spelt as Dryden, where they are found to be connected at various historical points.


The book's research, writing, design and drawings have been done by one individual, with just a little help in proofing and editing; meaning that errors, omissions and inaccuracies will still occur.


Inevitably there has been an attempt to place the “Driden” records of earlier centuries in Scotland within a family tree, and the trunk of that early tree was found among the stated relationships recorded in charters held by the Scottish National Archives.

The search for the origin of the Driden “family” co-incides exactly with the period in British history before 1500 when family names were first coming into being. That has meant “family names” of individuals did not always follow the conventional rules as we understand them today, and the placing individuals within a wider family of differing names is not always easy.


When at some point in history a branch of a family is known to have taken up and to have i

retained the family name of Driden, it also means that they were known by different names prior to that. Is that the end of the family quest? Some will say not, and for those who wish to follow back the further male line history of the family from Scotland, an extra chapter has been added. From a French immigrant in the 1200s, the family male line can be followed as it reaches back into the mists of Frankish territory in Northern France prior to the 900s.


I apologise to those Dridens of today whose family branch originates in places like Northumberland, Scotland and Ireland, as their descents after 1600 have not been followed down for any great distance. Although it looks to be the case, there is no certainty yet about whether all those Dridens were of one family. Questions remain about how closely they were linked, and in some cases a number of possible explanations are offered when a connection between generations or branches is discussed. Numerous small detours are taken into interesting incidents or mysteries that might yet be explained.


There were many Driden supporting players where British historical events have unfolded. There were Driden courtiers, theologians, knights, ambassadors, diplomats, jousting champions, reivers, bailiffs, merchants, smugglers, spies, baronets and parliamentarians of ages past. The last century has seen further Driden family poets of note, together with science-fiction writers, lawyers and doctors, balanced by bigamists, bankrupts and cattle thieves - all of them from my own Cornwall Dreadon family. It can't always be good news.


This then is an attempted family history by a family member, and in places a detective story. While a few of the ideas and suggestions about the family origins will inevitably be proved wrong, in substance or detail - I still hope it will be taken as an honest endeavour to reconstruct the origins and descent of the family's name from the records that have survived.


Notifying the author about obvious mistakes and the passing on of any further Driden family information or archived references to an email address would be very much appreciated. Email:


Without a doubt there is much more yet to be added to the knowledge of the history of the Driden family name – and a few more mysteries to solve.


Uncertainties and discoveries about the early family history


This book takes on the task of answering the central mysteries of the Driden family origins either side of 1500 in both Scotland and England. The main points of debate on the name's origin have been looked at and while many may still contest the conclusions reached, the evidence presented is voluminous and may change a few minds. Those points include:

● There is an ongoing discussion over the old records of the “Driden” name in Scotland from 1296 until 1521. Some claim that there was an undiscovered Driden family in Scotland and the records of the name from 1296 to 1521 are occasional glimpses of that family. However, once the circumstances of each record is investigated there emerges a better supported argument that these were records of individuals who had lived at a place called Driden and were known by the territorial designation of their estates.

This book argues this latter case where those individuals named as de Driden were of and from Driden, a barony and a manor house near Edinburgh. The Driden estates were held during all this time by only one family, the St Clairs of Roslin, although from about 1415 it was sub-infeudated to a cadet branch that became known as St Clair de Driden. Critics of this idea argue that no document has ever been found that ties the two family names of Driden and St Clair together. A look at the evidence quickly answers that claim.

First, the personal territorial designation “de Driden” or “of Driden” was used in conjunction with the older hereditary territorial designation of “Sinclair” quite regularly for a period of 150 years. Numerous examples are to be found in surviving charters extending from “William Sanctlar de Driden” in 1444 to “John Sinclair of Dryden” in 1593.

Unfortunately, the territorial designation of “St Clair de Driden” has generally been translated from the old documents as “Sinclair of Driden” and indexed within books and search programs as plain Sinclair. In this way the continuing use of the territorial designation “de Driden” after the mid 1400s has been hidden from view. In fact “de Driden” was still being used by the head of the “Sinclair of Dryden” family even after 1591 when the family lost possession of their Driden estates. (See chapters 5 to 7)

Second, there are archived Scottish documents of 1428 (chapter 4) and 1521 (chapter 10) that name separate individuals as de Driden and St Clair within the same land transactions.

Once the continuing use of the “de Driden” name as a territorial designation after the mid- 1400s has been understood (chapter 2), then it is much easier to accept that the earlier Scottish records from “Philip de Driden” in 1296 to “Johannes Dridene” in 1521 all refer to the estate of Driden. There is now no need to keep asking the question of where in Scotland was Driden located, as that can be answered with some certainty as being Driden on the Roslin estates of the St Clair family in Midlothian.

With that fact established, all the early records of the Driden name can be now examined for a consistent relationship to the location of Driden (now Dryden) in Midlothian and to the family of St Clair of Roslin. The modern Dryden family might therefore be seen as a branch of the Scottish clan Sinclair and perhaps look to the current Earl of Rosslyn as its chieftain.

● This book should help overturn the notion that there are very few records of the Driden family in Scotland before 1550. Once the family “of Driden” is identified as “St Clair de Driden” there are numerous documents and historical records available to be researched. Archived documents granting land have given precise family relationships from which a Sinclair of Driden family tree has been reconstructed for the period 1400 to 1600, a family tree used as the basis for a number of the earlier chapters within this book.

There are probably many archived and family-held records from Roxburghshire in Scotland waiting to be transcribed, and no doubt more records of the Dryden family in the “borders” during the 1500s and 1600s that will be made available in time.

The reason why there are very few records of the Driden family in England before 1550 can be quickly explained by the fact that only a single family had arrived in the English borders after 1515. It took a generation or two before the name could become more common-place within the English historical record.

● William Driden of Walton Cumberland, the known ancestor of the Canons Ashby Dryden family in England and probable ancestor of many more Driden lines, has on previous occasions been identified as the Scottish William Drydane pardoned in 1489. For the first time that identification has been extended by the author to include the records of William Sinclair de Driden the royal courtier from Scotland, with evidence in chapter 13 to support that Scottish origin for William Driden of Walton. That includes his reasons for moving, the date of his moving, the reason for settling in Cumberland, the identity of the English lord who granted his lands.

Once the task of identifying William Driden of Walton as a Scottish exile in the period after 1514 has been completed, there is very little to dispute about the family descent from Scotland down to John Driden the Scottish born builder of Canons Ashby house, and on to Dryden of Canons Ashby, Dreadon of Cornwall and Dryden of Yorkshire in England. In fact, the central line of family descent for every generation from about 1260 is known to history and documented by other sources.

● The Northamptonshire Visitation of 1564 lists William Driden’s son David Driden (Dryden) and David’s two sons John of Canons Ashby and Thomas of Cumberland. David Driden and his younger son Thomas were earlier recorded in Selkirk Scotland in 1535-36, with Thomas’ age giving his birth year as 1515. That early birth date confirms that his father David had married into the Nicholson family of Scotland rather than of Cumberland England. As it was the same Nicolson family who later took over the Driden estates near Roslin, David Driden’s Nicolson marriage helps to identify his father William Driden as a member of the Sinclair of Driden family. It also demonstrates that the Dryden pedigree in the Northamptonshire Visitation of 1564 has falsified the Nicholson family’s location, placing them in Cumberland England.

● The Dryden family that emerged in the 1520-30s in Roxburghshire Scotland and Northumberland and Cumberland England can now be seen as “borderers” who had intermarried with other border clans. They became a family living either side of the border and seemed able to move at will between Scotland and England.

After being recorded at Selkirk in Scotland in 1536 David Driden was then found at the English Castle of Wark in 1538 apparently in the pay of the English. His probable brother Thomas Drydon was located in Alnmouth, Northumberland England in 1527-27 and from as early as 1534 the apparently same Thomas Dryden was a witness to charters of Melrose Abbey in Roxburghshire Scotland.

By 1538 the brothers Andrew and Richard Driden had settled with the Ridleys in Tynedale Northumberland, a family famed for their cross border raids. The proof that some Drydens had themselves become border reivers lies in the case of William Drydon from Northumberland who in 1601 was accused of taking 34 sheep from Denholm midway between Jedburgh and Hawick on the Scottish side of the border in Roxburghshire.

● Because of the earliest church records surviving from the 1600s, many Dryden family genealogists have assumed that the Scottish Dryden families originated from two different locations in Scotland, from within Roxburghshire and from the Inveresk parish near Edinburgh. However, the surviving records of the Scottish Dryden family are more consistent with a single expansion outward from Roxburghshire and while the “Drydane” pardons of 1489 turn out to be a false clue, there is good evidence to support a descent from one Dryden individual in the Scottish borders.

The probable ancestor of the Scottish Dryden family is identified as the Thomas Drydon who signed charters of the regality of Melrose in 1534-36 and who was likely to have been a son of William Driden of Walton Cumberland in England. That Thomas must have been born into the Sinclair de Driden family near Edinburgh after about 1495.

And if that is correct, then both Midlothian and Roxburghshire do have a part to play in the origins of the Scottish Dryden family name, but only as successive locations for a member of the same family. The consequent conclusion is that both the Scottish and English “Dryden” families may have a common ancestor in William Sinclair de Driden who became William Driden of Walton.

● Some of this book's lengthy discussions of marriages within the first four generations of the “Driden” family are necessary only because the connections are not conclusively proved, or are speculative, as in chapters 4, 5, 6, 11 and 14. Previous and later intermarriages with the same families, locations, inheritance, heraldry, grants of land and annuities, naming patterns for children and references to marriages in early Peerage publications can all be relevant in these discussions.

● There are themes that run down through the generations from Scotland to England, such as the social status and the political and family connections of the family - themes that may relate to marriages and resettlement. Education, religion and the legal profession are other threads. Background to the politics and events of the days are often included, some of it re- interpreting well known historical events in Scotland and England from a family perspective.

When following the Driden name from its beginnings in 14th century Scotland down to the present day in England it becomes obvious that there is a very strong family literary culture that continued down through each generation. Right from the start it has been normal for the bulk of Driden family sons to have had a university education and from that education there has flowed a love of books, ideas and philosophies. See chapter 26.

That literary culture was particularly obvious within the St Clair family of Roslin in Scotland of which the St Clairs de Driden were part. The St Clairs of the late 15th and early 16th century were patrons of writers and poets and put together large libraries.

This literary culture then descended through the Driden family of Canons Ashby and their near relatives, leaving an extraordinary number of individuals who have left a mark in the world of literature in England.

● The National Trust has recently uncovered masonic symbols of Scottish derivation at Canons Ashby House in Northamptonshire England dating from the 1580s or even earlier. John Driden the Scottish born builder of the house who died in 1584 had a grandfather William Driden who, on the evidence, began life as William Sinclair of Driden. That William was born at Driden looking out onto the construction of the Roslin chapel, giving an immediate explanation of the origin of the Masonic connections. The family of St Clair of Roslin have had known associations with the masonic craft in Scotland going back to those times. These newly discovered masonic decorations at Canons Ashby therefore provide further evidence of the Dryden family descent from the St Clair de Driden family who were in possession of Driden on the Roslin estates of the St Clairs.

● That the Dridens in England became a merchant family is not widely acknowledged in many publications, although the evidence is everywhere among their documented history including the families they married into. It will be reinforced with some certainty that the early Driden family from Northumberland, Cumberland and Northamptonshire were merchants dealing in wool and other commodities.

● The Driden family history has often seen them in the shadow of other families, particularly in the early years within Scotland. That was not always because they were less wealthy, influential or prominent, but simply because their early Scottish and English story has never been told. With the further information on the social status and wealth of the early Dridens in England, I am hopeful that the often repeated belief of a family fortune being founded on the inheritance of the manor of Canons Ashby from Sir John Cope will be overturned. There is a considerable family history before Canons Ashby, a house built by John Driden on his own fortune."

I'll post more excerpts later, but please contact me if you would like a full copy of the book in .pdf format.

As you know, the Australian connection begins with JOSEPH DRAYDON SNR - grandfather of MARGARET ELIZABETH TURNER (nee DRAYDON) who was Dad's (COLIN WILLIAM TURNER) mother and my grandmother, and daughter of ELIZABETH BEIL. 


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