Darch Origins

In recorded history, we can trace clear lines back to a number of locations in Devon, Somerset and Cornwall, all in England. There may be a distant connection to Normandy (D'Arche) that we can speculate about - but that is just speculation for now.

These locations include:

I'm not sure that the Tiverton and Exmoor Darch families are separate, they certainly overlap to a considerable extent and more work is needed to work out how they are related. The Somerset group represents the one with the earliest hard evidence that I've come across - from 1580.

The Winkleigh Darch family were millers and owned a large (and obviously profitable) water mill at Horramill. They took their trade across a lot of the county of Devon and it is possible that the Landkey family are connected, but proof is elusive. Eventually, milling using water power became outdated, but there were still working mills around until the early 1900s.

The Stratton and Combe Martin families are each enigmatic for similar reasons. One person named Darch appeared in each place in the late 1700s, and we cannot find where either came from! There are clues, but they have yet to convert into evidence.

One thing I am now sure about: the French (Napoleonic) Wars either side of 1800 caused significant dislocation in rural communities and some of the 'appearances' in places that Darch folk were not hitherto found is a consequence of that dislocation. I can't discount the possibility that some people borrowed other people's names when they appeared in a new location. Wars do that kind of thing, I think: give some people a disguised new start opportunity and for sure, some will have taken advantage of that - and maybe some were these Darch people who popped up as if from nowhere!

Glover Origins

Glovers are much more numerous than Darches! I am certain that most of the early Glovers in North Devon came from Parkham and surrounding hamlets and villages and I have traced some descendants to Wales and North America. That they spread far and wide is not in doubt. However, I'm also sure that Glover families simultaneously existed in many parts of England from early recorded times.

The Glovers that originated elsewhere than Parkham frequently appear alongside those descended from the extended Parkham family. Confusion reigns, but I expect to reduce the extent of that confusion gradually.

11 October 2009
Dick Glover, Cambridge, England.