The Farmiloe story
This site is about the origin of the Farmiloe (and Farmilo) family and the stories of individual members in England and their migration to the New World.
The information in this site is heavily weighted in favour of my direct ancestors and their siblings. There is a lot more to tell about the Farmilo (without an e) branch and all Farmiloe(s) who left England for a new life in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. My hope and intent is that these stories will be told in the future.
Where did the Farmilo(e)s originate?
The tradition in our family is that our name originated in the county of Gloucestershire, England. The late Rev. Jimmy Farmiloe, who carried out much research into the family history, believed that our name originated from the village of Framilode which lies on the southern bank of the Severn estuary, south-west of the City of Gloucester. The name means the "Frome crossing"; the river Frome flows into the Severn at this point. From medieval times until the 2nd World War, the Framilode Passage was a ferry across the Severn, a quarter mile below the outfall of the Frome.
Early medieval records show that a family did indeed derive its name from this place. William of Framilode was in possession of a weir as tenant of the Abbey of Gloucester; it was the subject of a dispute with John of Fretherne in 1243. In 1261, Simon of Framilode disclaimed his right in the local fishery. In 1327, three "Fremelodes" are listed for the county in the "Lay Subsidy" tax. Simon de Fremelode was listed in the entry for the village of Saul (which included Framilode); he was assessed to pay 13 shillings and 1/4d (the tax was supposedly based on one-twentieth of the value of a person's moveable goods). William Framlode is recorded as having been a tenant of a property in the City of Gloucester in 1455.
The Gloucester connection is at first glance borne out by the locality of the vast majority of baptisms recorded before 1800 and even later. The small Gloucestershire towns of Minchinhampton and nearby Avening and Horsley feature most in these records. An interesting feature of the earlier records is that theFarmiloespelling is used in the Minchinhampton records but theFarmilospelling is common in Avening and Horsley.
The indication that our name originated in Gloucestershire seemed therefore very strong. Or was it?
In 1608, King James directed his Lord Lieutenant in Gloucestershire to list:
"The Names and Surnames of all the able and sufficient men in body fitt for his Ma'ties service in the warrs within the City of Gloucester and the Inshire of the same...
(p) sheweth the man to bee of the tallest stature fit to make a pykeman, (m)...of a middle stature fit to make a musketyer, (ca)... of a lower stature fitt to serve with a Calyver, (py)...sheweth the man to bee of the meanest stature either fit for a pyoner, or of little other use".
Not one single person with the Farmiloe name or variant was listed. Were they all draft dodgers or so unfit as not even to make the "py" grade? It seems more likely that they simply were not around in Gloucestershire at this time. But if so, where were they?
"The Chronicles of Shortwood"written by Frank Tompson Smythe, a Gloucestershire non-conformist parson, relates a tradition that the name derives from Flemish weavers who were encouraged to immigrate to England in the reign of Edward III in order to help establish the cloth making industry. Unfortunately, no source is given for this information.
The earliest church records of a Farmiloe event are to be found in the registers of Exeter Cathedral, Devon. There is a series of three baptisms of the children of John ffarmeloe whose eldest daughter Margery was baptised in 1597. Research into this John ffarmeloe led to his appointment as a "Vicar Choral" or singer in holy orders at the Cathedral. The house where he once had chambers still stands in the Cathedral Close.
Further research in Exeter revealed that a certain "Farmelowe" (no first name given) was listed in the 1522 Military Survey under the "Aliens" category as living in the Exeter Parish of St Stephen. His place of birth was "Picardy" [France]. His occupation was servant to "my Ladies Grace" (by which title Katherine Courtenay, the Countess of Devon, was generally known in the county at that time).
To date, no link has been established from the Exeter Farmeloes and those in Gloucestershire. However, it seems very likely that they were descendants. Our working theory for now is therefore that the Farmiloes originated in Devon, and before that, Picardie in France.
Andrew Farmiloe 2016