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My Heritage

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Quainton, Buckinghamshire

In October 2006 my wife and I had a very fruitful trip touring by car through England and Wales.
 
During this 'holiday' I was able to visit a little village called Quainton in Buckinghamshire, about 20 miles from Aylesbury. It was such a quiet and peaceful place, totally surrounded by farmlands and isolated far away from the hustle and bustle of modern day living. A pub, butcher, general store, two churches, a 'Green' in the centre of town and a windmill just about covers it.
 
The narrow streets house a population of about 1200 people, who have maintained this little village dotted with a few thatched roofs in extremely good condition. The locals made us extremely welcome and were proud to show off their town to us.
 
It was here just by chance, that I found at the rear of the Baptist Church, under the shade of an overhanging Willow tree, the grave of my great-great-great grandfather, William Burnell with his wife Mary, as well as, five of their fourteen children.
 
One of William's sons was Charles Burnell, who unfortunately for him, but fortunate for me, got himself into serious trouble with the law. On 17 Oct 1846 in London, he was tried and convicted of having two stolen metal watches in his possession. As a result he was sentenced to 7 years transportation to Van Diemans Land arriving on the "Anna Maria" on 7 June 1848. He never returned to England. Had he not been transported to Australia but imprisoned in England, then I would not have been born at all. So thanks Charles for your indescretion. 
 
I was also fortunate to obtain more information about the 'Burnell' families who lived in Quainton from the Holy Cross & St Mary Church, with baptism, marriage and burial records. From this detailed information I was now able to trace my ancestors ten generations, back to another William Burnell, who was born at Syresham, Northants in 1605.
 
I'm still missing a few dates and spouse maiden names, but here is the list so far.
 
William Burnell 1605-1700   wife..  ?
William Burnell 1650-1706   wife.. Margaret ?
James Burnell  1682-            wife.. Alice ?
James Burnell  1721-            wife.. Anne ?
Robert Burnell  1746-1822   wife.. Elizabeth Griffin
William Burnell 1781-1851   wife.. Mary Hayles
Charles Burnell 1824-1893   wife.. Elizabeth Goldsmith
Henry Burnell   1862-1931   wife.. Elizabeth Harris
Cyril H Burnell  1883-1960   wife.. Elizabeth Cleary
Cyril F Burnell  1910-1982   wife.. Victoria Wray
Roy H Burnell   1938 -      
 
What a discovery!

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William Burnell 1781 - 1851 also Mary 1782 - 1859

 
 
Also in our tour of England I visited the ruins of Acton Burnell Castle and took a few photos. Although at this stage, I haven't discovered a connection to the original owner Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath & Wells, Chancellor of England from 1274-1292, and confidant and advisor to King Edward I,... well, I did get a few goose-bumps and a feeling of attachment as I wandered through the remains of this once fine castle.
 
My uncle Roy (Dad's brother) visited the same site 15 years earlier and before his death related his own experience about it to me. I had the same urge to grab those feelings as well, which did give me a closer attachment to my family 'roots' way back in England. 
 
A most rewarding trip that I will never forget!

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Roy Burnell - Acton Burnell Castle

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Acton Burnell Castle

To know more about Acton Burnell Castle, go to the "Other Burnells" page, where two links have quite detailed information on this historic site.

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