Thanks to everyone who has responded. I suspect that the name, especially
with its variants, has multiple origins. I've dug out some info, prodded by
ideas people got me thinking about.
It appears not to be from English (southern Pembrokeshire Flemings),
despite the lack of the "A ap B" format, but I wouldn't bet on "little
England beyond Wales" being uninvolved. I've found that the first reported
reference to the name dates from 1503 - a William MENDUS, portreeve or
portryff (?) of Newport PEM (the Rowlings - "The Surnames of Wales", 1996).
A Lewys MENDUS was a juror in the same town in the same year. I found the
original journal article (LlGC online) for the former mention, but not for
the latter. A memorial inscription from St Mary's, North Fishguard, from
1535 reportedly refers to a David MEDDUS or MENDUS (Royal Commission etc);
it could be problematical given it has alternatives. A 1601 probate exists
for a Matthias MENDUS of Nevern. In 1613 a Hugh MENDUS was a bailiff for (I
think) a Thomas LLOYD in a case brought on by Alban OWEN; a case that looks
a bit like it arises from the minor aristocracy doing pretty much whatever
they pleased, calling to mind another thread going at the moment. In ~1617
(14 Jas. I) a John MENDUS of Fishguard who would have been born ~1557 also
made a deposition in a similar situation.
I've reeled-off that lot because I think they indicate the earliest
instances pre-date religious strife in France or the Netherlands. Newport
was apparently involved from much earlier in the export of wool, and
Flanders was a major weaving centre. It is not impossible that some people
went the other way, to Newport from Flanders, when things later got too
fraught - especially if there was an existing connection to Newport.
The persistent tradition of Huguenot involvement suggests that, in
the period from the mid-16th century, protestant Walloons, or Flemings, made
the trip as well. From 1503 to then is perhaps two generations, but the form
of those two 1503 names suggests "nativised" family or families
Actual name or transliteration?). I notice Newport is a mere 4km or so from
Dinas, and roughly halfway between Fishguard and St Dogmaels/Cardigan, the
latter places where "my" MENDUS genealogical bits first turn up, the former
having that 1535 monumental inscription.
In a book/article series "Crosscurrents in Hispano-Welsh Relations",
in an aside to a discussion of wine imports to Southwest Wales, the author
draws attention to a 1582 reference to the surname Mendous in Haverfordwest;
they support the suggestion it's connected with a Spanish or Portuguese name
Mendez(s). That's apparently from "Welsh Surnames" (T.J. and Prys Morgan,
1985). But such a name could as easily have gone from Iberia to Wales via
the Spanish Netherlands, with or without the wine, as it is in the middle of
the latter's revolt against Spain. They also cite a Mrs Wendy Childs, who
drew a connection to Portuguese (wine?) merchant names: Alfonso MENDES
(1443) and Alfonso MENDUS (1449)
So putting it all together I'd guess MENDUS (et al) has more than
one origin: I would suspect a layer of Huguenot incomers settling in an area
where (related?) others had preceded them and become established. That
"established" aspect would have been a powerful incentive for later
connected people to flee to SW Wales if they had need for safety.
I hope that lot is not too long-winded. I hope it's not too wrong
either, but at least that would not be as embarrassing.
Dale in Queensland
From: dyfed-bounces(a)rootsweb.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On
Of melanie stark
Sent: Saturday, 24 November 2012 5:09 AM
Subject: Re: [Dyfed] Mendus
Sent: Friday, November 23, 2012 8:00 AM
Subject: DYFED Digest, Vol 7, Issue 268
The surname Mendus in Dinas - part of my family tree married into the
tree.. took me a long time to make the connection to
"auntie" Dilys Mendus
Howell who died a few years ago not long after her 100th birthday. She'd
always been called "auntie" in the family and even she thought it was just
term of politeness... but I eventually found a link and that she and
later grandfather were distant cousins.
I dont have the details to hand, but if anyone's interested let me know
I will dig them out. and I do have some photographs of Mendus
stones from Ramah Cemetery in Dinas.
funnily enough ... Peregrine .... there's another Dinas family that my
ancestors married into!
On Thu, Nov 22, 2012 at 6:18 AM, yvonne evans
> Hi Dale,
> 2 things:- 1. There were Menduses at Dinas Pembrokeshire late 18th
> century. I remember there was a legal document involved in one of the
> Mendus men of Dinas having guardianship of a young girl together with
> Vincent Oliver of Dinas. This was late 18th century. Vincent Oliver
> part of my tree.
> 2. There seems to have been a small immigration of
> religiously persecuted people from the Netherlands having come into
> Pembrokeshire around 1600. These could either have been French
> or Walloons from Belgiium. Anyway both these were Protestant
> have a friend who told me that her relatives were from people fleeing
> Netherlands and they arrived in Pembrokeshire(Eglwyswrw) They
> Marsden but of course that is an English surname (which does not
> make sense) They might have adopted that surname.
> I also have ancestors by the name of Peregrine who were also in
> and Meline district of Pembrokeshire around late 18th century.
> weavers.There is a family tale that they fled the Netherlands around
> 1600. Why these people would come to Pembs I have no idea, but
> they came in through the port of Cardigan. Peregrine could also
> adopted name as it is the anglicised version of Peregrinus(Pilgrim)
> Best wishes
> Yvonne Evans
> Dyfed list http://home.clara.net/daibevan/DyfedML.html
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