Aston Manor


From John Patrick Parle, USA - Greetings Parle researchers,

Below is a copy of a document that has been with our Parle family in the midwest USA for over 50 years. Versions of this Aston Manor Document also exist in County Wexford, Australia, and further west in the USA. 

And too, there really is an Aston Hall in the city of Birmingham, Warwick in England. Various Parle family members have written them, and asked if they had any opinions on this document. One staffer at Aston Hall said he thought the document was a fake. Another Aston Hall staffer wrote back and said that they had no archives that could substantiate this information. They also said that there was a John Thorpe connected with Aston Hall's past, but he was involved as an architect, not in their knowledge as a "herald and chronicler." So it's not easy to state that the claims in this document are valid. It does make interesting reading though, and perhaps at some point it will be possible to verify some of the data, as the information age makes more source material easily available.



Regarding: The Parle Ancestral Name 

By the authority of John Thorpe, a much respected chronicler and Herald of Ashton Manor, County Warwick, found in old Records by that gentleman in the Archives of Ashton Hall of said Manor.

We learn that the ancient Irish family of Parle from De Parle Seignorie, near Cherbourg, Normandy, by the invitation of Charles the 2nd [1660 – 1685] en personnes of two Knights, John and Henri De Parle passed over to England in the early part of that monarch's reign and settled on the manor of Manadon in the county of Devon, where the name was Englicized to Parlby, but immediately thereafter two young gentlemen of that family noticed by the King for their skill in Military Discipline and Field Tactics were called to Calvary Service in Ireland with grant of demesne near Bandon, County of Cork, where up to the time of King William the 3rd they lived in honour and opulent state. At which time owing to the Parle brothers’ persistent loyalty to and defense of King James and their defiantly refusing to take a required oath of allegiance to the Dutch King, they were heavily indicted in money and estate. Whence subsequently assaulted by gangs of irresponsible ruffians they fled to the South of Ireland (One Branch) and the other gentleman, Yeoman  Thomas Parle, Esq., to the neighbourhood of Swords, County Dublin. The head of this latter family subsequently went to Hoogley [north of Calcutta?] in the East Indies [India?], where he acquired great wealth as a ship merchant in the China trade. 

While the English Devon family changed the ancient Norman French name of Parle to Parleby, the Irish branch sent to Ireland in the service of the King Charles simply lopped the prefix "De" to Parle. This branch was noted for their devoted attachment to the King James. So that neither the temptations of frequently proffered lucrative offices nor threats of governmental displeasure were sufficient to make them swerve from loyal duty to their rightful king. 

This family, according to records found in Ashton Manor Hall, had faithfully served their English Kings in their Chateau De Parle, Normandy, from the time of William the Conqueror.

At the battle of Harfew [is this a mis-spelling of Harfleur?] under Henry the Fifth two Knights of this family, William and Thomas De Parle, for distinguished gallantry in storming the Breach of said City were honoured by the King's presentation to each of a shield en or with the motto to be forevermore borne by the family in Norman French, ”FIDELE et BRAVE”.

Copied from the records in Aston Manor Hall by John Thorpe, Herald,
Resident of Aston Manor, County of Warwick, England.

I, Ernest G. Graham, on this 17 day of March, 1927, have literally transcribed the above from an old document found in the library of the deceased John W. Parle, father of the present Dr. John W. Parle, 2702 Park Ave., St. Louis, Mo.

Copied by Francis Parle, Excelsior Springs, mo., Aug. 9 1944.
Copied by Nell Parle (Mrs. Paul H. Parle), Louisville, Ky., Aug. 22, 1944. 
Copied by John P Parle, Pontiac, Mich., Feb. 7, 1997.


I copied the above language from a document that my father Jerome B Parle gave me in the late 1970s. I first saw it sometime in the mid 1960s. The document title above the beginning phrase "By the authority of John Thorpe..." is my own. The spelling of words like "Calvary," "Parlby," "en," "Englicized," and "defense" are the same here as on the copy I received.

There is a typed note on the bottom of my original copy that seems to indicate that members of our branch of the Parle family in Pontiac or Detroit received this document in a letter dated August 22, 1944 from Nell Parle in Kentucky (Paul's wife, the sister-in-law of my father). Nell said that she received it from Francis Parle, of Excelsior Springs, Mo., on August 21, 1944. There seems to be no easy way to verify the above information or the document's contents. On the following page is my drawing of a Coat of Arms that appeared on top of my copy of the original Aston Manor document. I don't know for sure who drew the original. Under the sketch on the Aston document is the title: "Sort of sketch of Parle Coat of Arms." The list of "copied by's" on top of this page is the same as on the original Aston document, except for my entry. My original Aston Manor Document was typed on a typewriter, with words faintly standing out at times; it is not a visually fancy-looking document.

Note: A yeoman is a member of a small class of small freeholders of common birth who cultivated their own land.

Note: William 1 (1027 – 1087) known as William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy (1035 – 1087), and King of England (1066 – 1087). He claimed to have been promised the English crown by Edward the Confessor, after whose death he disputed the succession of Harold II, invading England, in 1066 and defeating Harold at Hastings. This win resulted in the introduction into England of many Norman customs, esp. feudalism. In 1085 he ordered the Doomsday Book to be compiled. This was a written record of a survey of the land of England carried out by William’s commissioners in 1086. 

Note: Henry V (1387 – 1422) King of England (1413 –1422) son of Henry IV. He defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt (1415), conquered Normandy (1419), and was recognised as heir to the French throne (1470).




Aston Manor is owned by the Council. I found this out last year. My letters were not answered regarding any info. The National Trust told me the news, as follows: Aston Manor is a Jacobean Mansion, owned by the Council.

How are your searches going? Any new news?

Bye for now




Hi John & Mike,

I found no ref to Aston Manor Doc today at the Library. I looked at Burkes Extinct Peerage Book. I found no ref to a Parle Coat of Arms or our De Parles, but did not search for Aston Hall. Tomorrow I am seeing my old friend who works for the West Yorkshire Archives. I have finally traced him down. We may be lucky!!! Also Aston Manor is now a Museum, owned by the Council. A letter is in the post to The College of Arms, London. I will email you both if I have any news soon.

Bye for now


[Try searching at ]



Reply from John Patrick

Hi Christine and Mike,

Thanks for keeping me appraised of the search on the Coat-of-Arms and the Aston Manor Document. It is a curious search to find the origins of the Wexford/Irish Parles.

I remember that when I contacted Aston Hall about two years ago, they sent a nice response saying they could not substantiate the info in the document, and that a John Thorpe was connected with the past of Aston Hall, but he was some sort of architect, not a herald. Well, the search continues.

I wonder if there are any references in Belgium to a family of Parles, per the Flemish Parle knights in the 1169 invasion.

Bye for now,

John Patrick


From Christine Brown To John Patrick Parle CC: Mike Parle
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

Subject: ref - Parle Coat of Arms

Hi John & Mike,

My search today was interesting.

This is a quote from one of the books in the Archive Library, as follows.

“In the 12th century Eustace de Arden was settled as subtenant of the Ardens of Hampton at the manor of Bickenhill (Warwickshire). His family were called at various times de Arden or de Bickenhill. In Northamptonshire where they held Watford. They were also called de Watford. In 1326, Bickenhill was held by Walter Parles as great-grandson and heir of Eustace de Arden.

The arms of Watford, as quartered by the Burnaby family, are given in the Visitation of Northamptonshire of 1564 as Giles, a chief argent, over all a label.

The Cheshire Ardens descend from the Ardens of Watford. The second Eustace de Arden or de Watford, who was dead by 1213 had two sons: Eustace (ancestor of the Burnahy and Parles families) and John de Arden of Aldford in Cheshire.”

This is more or less saying that the Parles took over the Watford Coat of Arms. The Coat of Arms is Two Hands Crossing. I will try and get it tomorrow.

This may not be any ref to the Parles at Aston Manor. This could be another family of Parles.

I have posted a letter today to the Birmingham City Records Archives. Ref all documents including this one, and Aston Manor Document. This is where we will find a record hopefully to your document John.

We will definitely know if there is a Coat of Arms for a Parle family, as the College of in London has a reference to all the Coats of Arms in the UK.

Hopefully we should have a letter this week from them. Tomorrow I will search more at the Archive


Bye for now Christine


21st April 2001 – from Christine Brown to John Patrick Parle CC: Mike Parle

Subject: ref- Archives - Christine

Hi John & Mike,

At last we have a little news regarding Parles etc. This information is very informative, some of which we know already, plus more avenues to explore.

Today I will go to the History Society and search for our references mentioned in our letter.  Together I am sure we will find out an incredible amount on our families.

Please email me ref any ideas you have that might have ref to any searches in the Library & the Archives.

Bye for now Christine.



Birmingham City City Council
Leisure & Culture
Birmingham City Archives, Central Library
Chamberlain Square, 
Birmingham, B3 3HQ, England

Tel: 0121 303 4217
Fax: 0121 464 1176


18th April, 2001

Mrs CAG Brown

Dear Mrs Brown, (nee Parle)

Re. Parle Family

Thank you for your enquiry regarding the above. I can find no mention of the name of Parle in any books or the indexes to our collection. I have, however, found some mention of the name Parles, should this be of interest. 

The "Victoria County History of Warwickshire" (VCR) mentions the Parles as follows: 

Vol. IV p. 35 "Bickenhill was held by...the Arden 1326 Walter Parles held the manor; he was grandson of William Parles, who had married Joan, one of four daughters and co-heirs of Eustace de Watford, who was grandson of Eustace de Arden. Walter seems to have transferred it in 1327 to Sir John Pecche of Hampton."  

Vol. IV p. 222 "Land of Widney was granted early in the 13th century by Philip de Cumton to William de Parles, whose namesake in the reign of Edward I conveyed to William de Aylesbury all his land here which he had by the gift of William Bagot." 

This information in the VCH came from Sir William Dugdale's "The Antiquities of Warwickshire" (published in 1656) which might hold more information. If you would like to read the VCH yourself, I am sure you will find it in [your] Central Library. We also have references to approximately 25 documents relating to various members of the Parles families of Coleshill and Castle Bromwich, largely dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, in our Digby collection. If you are interested in any of these you will probably need to come to the Archives yourself to have a look at them. I am afraid that, as the documents will be on parchment, we cannot photocopy them.

In regard to the ‘Aston Manor’ document, I am afraid that it will be very difficult to prove its authenticity. We hold a variety of records relating to Aston Hall here, but I can see nothing obvious that looks like it might be your document. One large collection however, which consists of 26 boxes of 18th and early 19th century material, is uncatalogued.

There is no “Ashton” in Warwickshire, so I should imagine that it is referring to Aston, which is next to Birmingham. You can read more about Aston in volume VII of the VCH (P.60 onwards). You may also be interested in the book The Grand Old Mansion: The Holtes and Their Successors at Aston Hall, 1618 – 1864, by Oliver Fairclough (published in 1984). This book mentions John Thorpe (c.1565 – 1655) as a land-surveyor who designed Aston Hall around 1618, but it does not seem to have been involved any further.

I do not think, on this evidence, that you can assume that this is the “much respected chronicler and herald” mentioned in your document.

In regard to the Parle coat of arms, I suggest that you contact the College of Arms.

Their address is: Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4BT. If you have not already done so, you might wish to write to Warwickshire County Records Office about the Parle(s) families. Their address is: Priory Park, Cape Road, Warwick CV34 4JS.

In case you wish to visit the Archives, I enclose some leaflets showing our location and opening hours. I do hope this information is helpful to you and wish you well in your research.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Chubb


22.4.2001 from John Patrick Parle to Christine Brown CC: Mike Parle

Re: Info From the Birmingham City Archives

Hi Christine,

That is certainly an interesting letter you received from Sarah Chubb, the archivist for the City of Birmingham, there at the library. I was able to get the second page quite clearly on my machine, but the first page was a bit blurred, so please take the opportunity to correct the info that I copied down. 

I wonder if in the next couple of months you might feel comfortable typing the letter into an e-mail to me, then I'll post it at the Parle listserv, the e-group at Yahoo. This kind of letter is a document in our Parle family search now, and it would be good to preserve its contents.

Those of us who have hopes in the Aston Manor Document may take some solace that there are in the Birmingham archives, 26 uncatalogued boxes of info from the 18th and 19th century, presumably related to Aston Hall. I wonder if these might be the Aston "archives" mentioned in the document. (Speculation.) I wonder if there is a family connection between us and the William Parles (1200s) and his grandson Walter Parles (1324), as found in the William Dugsdale book from 1858 she quoted? (This was the source mentioned by the staff person at Aston Hall in her letter.)  Also, I wondered if this is why the info on the Parle family was supposedly at Aston Hall. I could never figure out why in the heck the Parle data was in Aston Hall to begin with, as the story goes. Maybe there was a Parles family connection here, per William and Walter Parles in the Dugsdale data. This is just speculation on my part.

Congratulations on your find, and for identifying another piece of the puzzle. We are slowly gathering facts and non-facts in this whole process. I bet there is a neat family story to be told down the road. Best wishes,

John Patrick



From JP to Mike Parle CC: Christine Brown

Subject: Aston Hall and the Aston Manor Document

Hi Mike and Christine,

There has been some interest lately in the Aston Manor Document, so I thought I would pass on a letter I received a couple years ago from Aston Hall in England. As you might remember, the Aston Manor Document says that the records in its contents were found in Aston Hall in County Warwick, England, and that a herald there named John Thorpe wrote the original document.

Stunning claims about Parle family history are made within the Aston Manor Document. There is indeed an Aston Hall in County Warwick, in the city of Birmingham there. I wrote them a while back asking if they could comment on the authenticity of the document. I've retyped their response below, along with my original letter to them. Although their response does not rule out the possibility that portions of the document are accurate, it would be fair to say that the primary source for authenticating the document was unable to do so.

From here it would seem that the document still has value as a fund of possibilities. At some point when feasible it would be interesting to see if there are traces of Parle connections to Cherbourg in Normandy, Bandon in Cork, and the Swords area of Dublin. Efforts now are identifying Parlbys in Manadon, Co. Devon, and the Parle name in India.

So the old document may have its day at some point, as a source for further investigation. One wonders who wrote it, if John Thorpe didn't.

John Patrick Parle


Letter from Aston Hall:  Aston Hall, Trinity Road, Aston, Birmingham  B6 6JD

20 April 1999

Dear Mr. Parle

Thank you for your letter dated 25 March 1999. I apologise for the delay in writing.

You certainly have an intriguing document, which I fear has a few anomalies in relation to Aston Hall. Aston Hall when it was built, between 1618-1635, was indeed in the county of Warwickshire, but it has never been called Ashton Hall or Aston Manor. John Thorpe (c 1565-1655) was the "designer" of Aston Hall (architects as we know them today did not exist at this time). He was a London land-surveyor and worked in the royal service in the Office of Works. He had a sideline in supplying house plans to intended builders, keeping the drawings in a book, which was subsequently found at Warwick castle. Although Thorpe's book drew up these plans his responsibility for Aston Hall probably went no further. I can find no reference to him as a "much-respected chronicler and Herald of Ashton Manor."

There was a chronicler of Warwickshire called William Dugsdale, who certainly documents the manor of Aston during the seventeenth century, but he has no relationship with the Holtes or Aston Hall.  I have looked through what material we have at Aston Hall and have been unable to find any reference to the name Parle. We have very little original resource/reference material at Aston Hall, and you may be able to find out more details about the Parle family at the Genealogical Hall of Birmingham Central Library. Their address is: Birmingham Central Library, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham  B3 3HQ

I have looked carefully at the sketch of the coat of arms and it does not relate to any of those at Aston Hall. If you have access to the internet and haven't already done so, it may be worth looking at a heraldry site, if there is such a thing. I hope the above information has been of some use. I'm sorry I cannot find anything that highlights a relationship with your document and Aston Hall. Please do not hesitate to contact me further if necessary. 

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Hunter Rowe
Assistant Development Officer
Aston Hall
Birmingham City Council
Department of Leisure and Community Services 
Our ref: rhr750


John Patrick Parle letter to Aston Hall

March 25, 1999

Dear Madam or Sir,

I have been doing research on my family history, and for decades we have had a copy of a genealogical document that we have called the Aston Manor Document (attached). It purports to tell a long history of the Parle family name, and the document states that the information is from Ashton Hall in County Warwick, England.  

I have not been able to locate an Ashton Hall in Warwick, but Aston Hall is mentioned both in the Encyclopedia Britannica and on the Internet. I'm speculating that perhaps there has been a typographical error in the copying of the information over the decades. In any event, I'm wondering if anyone at Aston Hall can verify the information on the Parle ancestral name found in this document. A number of family members have wondered if it is a forgery. Short of that, could you tell me:

  1. Does Aston Hall have an archive of genealogical records (as seems to be stated in the document)?
  2. The document states that the information was gathered by a John Thorpe, "a much respected chronicler and Herald of Ashton Manor," and a resident there. Do you have any record of a John Thorpe having been connected with Aston Hall?
  3. Does Aston Hall keep records of coats of arms (such as the drawing in the attached document)?

I must say that this document has been a curiosity in our family for half a century. As we have been in contact with our namesakes via the Internet, we have discovered that copies of the "Aston Manor Document" have found their way to Ireland and Australia. We just wondered if there is any way of checking on the information contained in it. Thank you for your consideration, and we hope to hear from you. I will send your response to other family members in different parts of the world.

Regards, John Patrick Parle

"THE ASTON MANOR DOCUMENT" regarding The Parle Ancestral Name
By the authority of John Thorpe, etc, etc” - exactly as per the original from the USA as printed already in the Parle History.


From: John Patrick Parle
To: Christine nee Parle Brown
Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2000

Subject: The Aston Manor Document

Hi Christine,

Thanks for the photos. I'm sending them to my sister. It's neat to know that there are English Parles--for so long our little Parle family in Michigan felt sort of isolated (Parle isn't a common name in these parts). And, yes, we do have a photocopy of the chapter on the Parles of the Saltee Islands. It's neat reading. I'm sending below a copy of the Aston Manor Document. Have you seen this before? There are versions of this among Parle families in various parts of the world. We don't know if it's for real or a fake. Although our copy here says "Ashton," in other versions its "Aston," and they’re really is an Aston Hall in Birmingham, England.

Bye for now,

John Patrick Parle


From: John Patrick Parle  Date: Tue Nov 28, 2000 2:40pm  

Subject: Aston Manor Document - Parle/Parlby's in County Devon

Greetings Parles around the world,

The items below are pretty disorganized, but the material does tell a story. The old Aston Manor Document claims that when the Parles from Normandy first came to Devon in England in the late 1600s, they changed their name to the English-sounding Parlby. So I was curious if there were Parlby's in County Devon. (After a spell in Devonshire, some of the Parle family members were then supposed to have migrated to Ireland, at least according to the Aston Manor Document.)

There were indeed Parlby's in Devon as late as the 1800s and into the 20th century (see below). In fact they were in here is a Manadon Manor. Things become confusing from here.

There seem to be at least two places in Devon that use the name Manadon: 1) in Pennycross in Plymouth; and 2) a town named Manaton in Dartmoor, further to the east. Both of these are in the Diocese of Exeter, which is where Fr. Parle may have gotten his reference to that town.

I'm posting all these items below for future reference. They come from about ten different places on the Web, and I hope to search it out further at some point. Geeze--Maybe there really was a Sir John de Parle from Normandy.

John P. Parle



Hi Mike,

Christine has gathered some fascinating info from Sir William Dugdale's book, "Antiquities of Warwickshire," published in 1656. The top of the pages have the title "Hemlingford Hundred" printed on them.

Some of the info repeats what the Birmingham city archivist said, but there is more. Particularly interesting is page 881. Here it refers to the Parles family in connection with the Nechells property in Warwick. The Aston Hall website says that the Holte family owned Aston Hall, Duddeston, and Nechells, but at least in the case of Aston manor, not until 1367. Christine's info seems to span long before this.

The facsimile of the page says that Nechells was not mentioned in the "Conqueror's survey" (I presume the Domesday Book of 1087), but that Saxon references to the territory go back that far. Then for a time it was in the sway of the "old Barons of Dudley" (elsewhere it mentions that Duddeston was named from the old barons of Dudley). In any event, as the story goes, these Dudley barons granted the Nechells property to members of the Parles family, specifically to Osbert Parles, referred further down the page as Osbertus de Parles. Nechells then went to the heir of Osbertus de Parles, who was a son out of wedlock. What is neat is that there is a family tree chart right on the page that shows six generations descending from Osbertus de Parles.

Finally the page reports, that Nechells then fell over to Simon del Holt of Bermingham (sic--whom I'm assuming were the Holtes of Aston manor, perhaps sometime in the 14th century).

Page 949 of Christine's research says that William de Parles, and "his Knights and heirs," were granted Widney; that his son was also William; and that his grandson was Walter. The first William de Parles was granted Widney in the early 13th century, per the document from the Birmingham archivist. What do we make of all this? It sure is tempting to think of these Parles family members as being members of the Parle family. The construct of their names (William de Parles and Osbertus de Parles) sound Norman, or perhaps Flemish. One wonders from these data if there has been a Parles/Parle family presence in England since the Middle Ages, not just in recent centuries?

And there is another piece of connection of the Parles family to the Holtes of Aston manor, by way of the transference of the Nechells property to the Holtes from the heirs of Osbertus de Parles. The Birmingham city archivist said that there were 26 boxes of uncatalogued material in the archives; I wonder if some of these are from Aston Hall, the referenced "archives," and may hold some answers to future Parle researchers. My sort of naive assertion is that the reason there is any mention of Parle info being at Aston Hall in our Aston Manor Document, may be this very old Parles connection with the area.

Well, this is of course all speculation, but it can be the source of possibilities when considering the medieval beginnings of our family. These are theories about the Parle family from over 800 years ago. Proof won't come quickly, but possibilities are still alive.

Of course, I hope the Aston Manor Document is authentic. If it were authentic, so many questions about Parle family history would be answered. But too, I'm not really objective on this matter. Still, I'd hate to dismiss the Aston Manor Document, if it were actually true. That would be an error of skepticism. So the search continues.

Bye for now, and best wishes over the weekend.

John Patrick


7th Aug 2001 From John Patrick Parle to Mike

Subject: Letter from Aston Hall’s Curator – Re: The Document

Greetings Mike,

Christine has just received this rather painful letter from the present curator at Aston Hall regarding the Aston Manor Document. This really knocks the wind out of those of us who have some hopes for the document. I don't know where things go from here regarding the Aston Manor Document, but I feel an obligation to post this letter at the Parle listserv tonight. I wonder who the person was who wrote the document--probably his name wasn't John Thorpe. Parles in the USA have believed in this thing for over 55 years. Well, I feel stung, and I bet others do too. Christine and I have taken some consolation that parts of the document do appear to be factual. But, I guess it's fair to say that unless countervailing information presents itself in the future, we can assume that the Aston Manor Document in itself is not to be taken as authoritative.

Bye for now, and with regards.

John Patrick Parle, Michigan


Letter from the Curator of Aston Hall, RE: the Aston Manor Document

Aston Hall, Trinity Road, Aston, Birmingham B6 6JD

23rd July 2001

Dear Christine Parle,

Parle Family Tree Research

First of all, please accept my deepest apologies. I recently found your letter of 9th October 2000 lurking at the back of a drawer where it must have been accidentally filed some eight months ago. However, I felt that having found it again the least I could do was respond to your inquiry.

Sadly, I am not the bearer of good news as I suspect that the document you were sent by your namesake in Michigan is a fake. 

 A John Thorpe is certainly associated with Aston Hall. He was the surveyor credited with the design of the house, although his role probably consisted of little more than drawing plans, which were then put into practice by the Lord of the Manor, Sir Thomas Holte. It is probable that Thorpe never even visited Aston, and he was certainly not the "much respected chronicler and Herald of Aston Manor" mentioned in your document. (It is also worth mentioning that Thorpe died around 1655—some five years before Charles II was restored to the throne of England.)  

I have to say that De Parle is not a name I have ever come across when researching Birmingham history. The town was always a fiercely independent borough who had little time for nobility. Indeed, to my knowledge, the only aristocratic families associated with the city are the de Berminghems who gave it its name and the Holtes of Aston. If the De Parles had been linked to the city, it is likely that they would have had some streets named after them, but again there is nothing in the A-Z that suggests this.

Rather than take my word for it, however, I would suggest you contact the Genealogy section at Birmingham Library. They can be reached at ...., and for a relatively modest fee will carry out a much more comprehensive search on the De Parle name and whether it has any links with Birmingham. Please accept my apologies once again, and good luck with your research.

Best wishes,

Chris Rice Curator, Aston Hall  

[Note from J.P.: Christine did in fact contact the Birmingham archives at the library, and they said the archives has documents showing that a de Parles family did own territory in Warwick in medieval times. Birmingham is a city in Warwick in the West Midlands of England.]


7th Aug 2001 From John Patrick Parle to Mike

Subject: Re: Aston Manor Document

Hi Mike,

Yes, I think it's best to include Chris Rice's letter in the next of your Parle family history issues. There are major claims made in the Aston Manor Document, and folks should be alerted not to immediately assume they are valid claims, when in fact the claims are suspect. At this stage the burden of proof is heavily on those who assert the contents of the document. I guess it's a weighty thing when the curator of Aston Hall says he thinks the Aston Manor Document is a fake, in those words. There are consolations though, in that there are items in the Aston Manor Document that have proven true: Parle name in India, the de Parles and their presence in Warwick, and the Parlby family in Devon.

I would like to find out if the Parle family came originally from Normandy, or from Flanders. Another consolation I suppose can be found in this quotation: "There's two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've also made a discovery." - Enrico Fermi, 20th century Italian-American physicist. 

Still I wonder if some feel burned by this. The Australian Parles at one point had family coat of arms made up, I think with the "Fidele et Brave" motto taken from the Aston document. I wonder who in the heck was this fellow who called himself John Thorpe?

Bye for now.

John Patrick


In a message dated 7/8/2001

Mike Parle writes in connection with The Aston Manor Document: << Do you wish me to include this information on my next issue of 'The Parle Family History' >>

Dear JP,

Thanks for your latest news from Christine, regarding the authenticity of the Aston Manor document. It was always the right thing to explore every avenue to check out how accurate it was? There is still some hope that something substantial may come to light. Viz: "the archives has documents showing that a de Parles family did own territory in Warwick in medieval times" - so do not lose all hope.

A lot of time and effort has been put into the research effort and I am certainly thankful for your efforts. Since Dec 2000 a lot of research has been identified, published and circulated throughout the world. The task is not yet finished but the pace at which it was going has reduced to a more manageable rate.

Thank you again.

By the way I have turned up the Parle Coat of Arms I mentioned some months back. I am taking photos of it and will circulate. We will, in due course need to check out the various crests to see if any are authentic.

Kindest personal regards



Subject: Items re Aston Manor Document

From: John Patrick Parle, USA
Sent: Sunday 22 September 2002 00:24

Greetings Parle family researchers,
The material below are recent correspondences about the Aston Manor Document, the purported source document on Parle family history.  A couple staffers at Aston Manor have made statements that cast doubt on the authenticity of the document, but a few of us are still pursuing its possibilities.  A copy of the Aston Manor Document, and the Beebe version of the document, can be found in the archives of this Parle egroup.
Best wishes,
--John Patrick Parle, USA
Hi Christine,
Theory time again! Well, I spent another five hours scouring the Internet and my encyclopaedias, and came up with some new stuff.  No hurry, just take a look at it sometime when you are able.  I'll keep it on file, so the info won't be disappearing or anything. I guess it would be great fun if we could authenticate the Aston Manor Document, with the cool stuff in it.  The doubters prevail as of now.  At this stage this stuff is speculative, but it keeps the matter alive. Have a great day in Merry Olde England!

John Thorpe and the Watt family

I think if the Aston Manor Document is authentic, it was written between 1817 and 1848.  If we assume for explanation purposes that the Parle-Aston Manor Document and the Beebe-Aston Manor Document were authentic, then the herald John Thorpe would have been working at the time that the Watt family was in charge at Aston Hall (per Beebe, cited below).  The Aston Hall history website (also cited) says that the eldest son of the inventor James Watt was in charge of Aston Hall between 1817 and 1848, after which it reverted to the City of Birmingham. Before 1817, Aston Hall was in possession of the Holt family.  The e-mail I sent yesterday about a herald painter named John Thorpe living at Belmont Row in Birmingham (the city where Aston Hall is) I think places John Thorpe in these early decades of the 19th century.  Still a theory though, from interpreting the citation below. 

Now James Watt the inventor eventually settled in Birmingham in 1775, set up shop there, and eventually died in 1819 at Heathfield Hall, near Birmingham.  He had four children reach maturity, from two marriages.  His two adult sons were James (1769-1848) and Gregory.  The source (below) says that James was the eldest son, and that he took over his father's business affairs.  I presume it was James Watt the younger who presided at Aston Hall.  This makes for a bit of the glitch, because Beebe-Aston says that it was William Watt who was the lord of Aston manor and in charge of the archives at Aston Hall.  The exhaustive Watt genealogy webpage (cited below) shows what looks like a booboo with James Watt the younger being born at Aston Hall in Scotland, instead of dying at Aston Hall in Warwickshire, the county where Birmingham is. James Watt the younger is shown having two children: James Alexander Watt and a child with a name unknown to the chronicler.

I think we have to get away from the idea that there was only one John Thorpe--the one who was the architect of Aston Hall.  For instance there was a John Thorpe who was an antiquarian in Kent in the 1700s.  There were several other John Thorpes in Derbyshire. [There is also a village of Thorpe in Derbyshire, see , hence the Thorp name will have been common in this area],

It is conceivable that there was another John Thorpe who was a herald for a time at Aston Hall.  Perhaps more pages will reach the Internet supporting this idea--more such info has come in just the past six months. 
* History of Aston Hall: 
* Beebe-Aston Manor Document: 
* James Watt Bio:  
* James Watt descendant table: 
Also, as just some more data to throw in the pot, there is a reference to 
a Markham John Thorpe, Esq., from 1844. See 

Earlier memo:
Subject: Re: John Thorpe of Belmont Row
Date: 8/20/2002 12:27:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Hi Christine,
The reference to John Thorpe the herald in Birmingham is below, and appears to be from the 1800s:
"The chairman, for many years, was Mr John Thorpe, a herald painter of Belmont Row, a man of singularly graceful manners, and a great humorist.  The "toasts" and "sentiments" given from the chair on these occasions were always original, and often so laughable, as to set the whole company in a roar.  His portrait was one of the three that hung in the parlour. Another was that of Mr Atkins, who instituted the Baron of Beef Dinner; and the third was that of Francis Marrian, the landlord, who was represented with the song "Old England’s a Lion" in his hand. He was a man of great capacity, of broad and philosophic views, of most genial manners, and of true benevolence.  Two of his sons are still amongst the most respected of our citizens; and another, inheriting his father’s skill, has established a colossal brewery near Sheffield, in which town "Marrian’s Ale" is as famous as was the old "Digbeth Water" of this father, fifty years ago."
As I mentioned earlier, Belmont Row was in Birmingham, the town of Aston Hall.  This raises the question of perhaps the John Thorpe of the Aston Manor Document was a real person! The quotation above is from the website below--it is found in the bottom quarter of the webpage. Also, once at the site, move down the page, because it looks like a blank page at first. 
Also, the reference to Seignorie in the Aston Manor Document I don't believe is a place in Cherbourg, but a title of the Parle in question.  He was the Seignoire (or the lord) of the manor.
Best wishes, and happy hunting.



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