The revelation last week by the Diss Express of a north Suffolk link to Richard III, the King of England whose skeleton was found in Leicester, led Eye resident Ann Lockwood to dig out her family tree which also has a connection to the dead king.
Mrs Lockwood’s family name is Blomfield and she and husband, Michael, who live at Ash Drive, have been studying her ancestry which stretches all the way back to Richard de Blonville of Normandy in 1086.
Her illustrious ancestors were first investigated by Harry Hildyard Bloomfield in 1904. He mapped ancestors stretching from 1086 to 1824. In more recent times, the tree has been completed up to 2008 by Keith Howlett from Polstead, Suffolk.
The family name varies in spelling from Blomfield, to De Blonville, De Blumville and Bloomfield. Mrs Lockwood said an entry for one of her ancestors, Randolph Blonville of Gunton (1475-1514), shows his wife as Constance Gurney who it states was ‘Descended from Richard III’.
While Mrs Lockwood couldn’t verify if the information was correct, both the Blonville and Gurney families appear to have been descended from Norman nobility who came to England with William the Conqueror and so it is feasible they moved in Royal and aristocratic circles.
Mrs Lockwood said: “It’s nice to know this family history and the possibility of a Royal connection, but it would be even nicer if someone thinks they may be part of the family and got in touch.”
There is a Blomfield coat of arms and a family motto ‘Good Fortune Assists the Brave’. There were also family lands at Newton Flotman for 400 years dating from 1294 and there is a road in the village today called Blundeville Manor.
One notable family member who lived there was Thomas Blundeville (1522–1606), a famous Elizabethan scholar.
In Mrs Lockwood’s family tree, there are a number of equally interesting characters, including Charles James Blomfield who was a Bishop of London, Victorian architect Sir Arthur Blomfield who designed the Royal College of Music and the law courts in Fleet Street, and his nephew Sir Reginald Blomfield who designed the Menin Gate at Ypres.
Also on the tree is Lady Sara Louisa Blomfield who was a London society hostess and humanitarian activist in Edwardian times. Her two daughters were both suffragettes and caused a scandal by staging a protest in front of the King at Buckingham Palace.
In more recent times, Mrs Lockwood had an uncle who owned a gold mine in Africa and guarded it with a pet tiger, and her own father, Bertram John Blomfield, received a commendation for rescuing four people from the River Thames in 1917. He later ran the Yaxley Bull.