A Norman Legacy, by Sally Harpur O’Dowd

Second paragraph of third chapter:

There is a record of King John of England staying with Balthazar [Whyte] at Ballymorran Castle, one of the homes of the Whyte family, in July 1210 on his second expedition to Ireland.

Sally is my fourth cousin once removed; her mother was from the de Burgh Whyte branch of the family (like Lady de la Beche, Amy Dillwyn and Gladys Sandes) and her first cousin once removed works in Brussels (C, sister of K and mother of F2). This is a slim book (160pages) which pulls together the basics of the Whyte family history, which theoretically goes back to the Norman invasion of Ireland, and goes through our common ancestors to the present day.

It’s a labour of love, and while I disagree with some of the statements (there is, in fact, a Kingsmeadow House in Waterford; also, rather than dating from 1752, the “de Burgh Whyte” surname doesn’t seem to have been used before the 1840s), I found some new material too. There’s not a lot to say about the more obscure ancestors, but Sally bulks it out well with information about the genealogies of the women they married, which in most cases is as firm (or as nebulous) as what we have on the Whytes.

The most interesting suggestion is that my 8xgreat-grandfather Andrew Whyte/White, son of the Elizabethan Sir Nicholas White and father of the seventeenth century Sir Nicholas White, died in the service of the Crown in 1599, despite having previously fallen under suspicion for papistry. I need to dig into this more, but there seems to me to be an indication that he was spying on Irish exiles in, wait for it, Leuven. His father had died a prisoner in the Tower of London just a few years earlier.

Probably the most famous person directly mentioned here is Keith Kyle, a fairly prominent lefty British journalist of the later twentieth century, who married Sally’s older sister; here he is reporting from Brussels sixty years ago this month on the UK’s first bid to join the EEC.

As I said, a labour of love. You can get it here.

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