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The Nunney Castle photo above courtesy Patricia Geib, taken March 1999
??? De la Mere (DelaMare):
(wife of Williamus Pretor (Prater) (DESCENDED TO ---->)
De la Mare is the name taken by a Norman family which came to England with William, Duke of Normandy, in his conquest of England in 1066. Norman De la Mere was a great Lord in Normandy, with his Castle De la Mere (Castle of the lake) built on the edge of a lake in Normandy. Thus, the name De la Mere (also spelled Delamare/De Mara/Delamere, and others). Norman's son Hugh Delamare married a descendant of Brockwell Yscithoer (the Prince of Powys) and sister to our grandmother. Thus, the Delamares were brought into the family circle. Sir John Delamare built Nunney Castle in 1373. He was a Knight for King Edward of England and his descendant Sir John Delamare II was the Sheriff of the Counties of Somerset and Wiltshire, as well as retaining the title of Knight.
The Delamares were married into other Prater allied families; Kingston, St. John, Paulets (Powellets), Powys, Ivys, Carew, Courtney, and others. The Delamare name is still very well known today in England. Our grandfather, Anthony Prater of Stanton St, Bernard, Wiltshire, was married to Judith Ivy whose mother was a descendant of Delamare.
Anthony's brother Richard lived in Nunney Castle until his death in 1580 and his Prater heirs lived there until 1645 when Col. Richard Prater lost the castle to Fairfax, the commander of Cornwells forces in the battle that took place at Nunney. It was never lived in again. The Castle Nunney stands today but all of the floors have been removed or burned. Its mote, walls, and towers are still in tact and its magnificent presence remains in the center of the manorial village of Nunney, Somerset, England. Prater, Delamare, and Paulet tombs are in the church at Nunney.
Sir John De la Mere inherited large estates from his kinsman Lord
Bohn, the Earl of Hereford (the Bohn heir was Mary Bohn who married King
Henry III and then it was given to John De la Mere as tenant-in-chief of
the Crown). He was also kinsman to the house of Clare, earls of Gloucester/
Sir Thomas Hungerford/ Sir John Bishoptrow, in Wiltshire / Lord Henry de
Montfort / Lord Kingston, Earls of Kingsbourgh (Baron King in Ireland)
and many others.
George Prater (ESQUIRE):
(son of John Prater (ESQUIRE)/Elene Kingston)
George Prater lived at Latton, Wiltshire, which has been in existence since before the Roman occupation of England. There are still old Roman ruins there today.
I believe that George was the Reeve of Nunney, Somerset, working under his cousin, Sir William Paulet. George later purchased the holdings of Nunney from his cousin in a tax deal, which kept the Manor of Nunney in the family. Nunney Castle was included in this transaction which was handled by a Jack Prater. We do not know how Jack is related to the family. It's possible that "Jack" is a "nick-name" for John. Records state that Nunney was purchased out of the estate of George's father, John.
George lived during the time that King Henry the Eighth created the Church of England and discontinued recognizing the Catholic Church. This was a harsh time for the Praters because they were Catholic. Most of the Christian world was Catholic at this point in history. The Praters were taxed heavily for their religion, but because of their high social and political connections they continued to do well. Also, they were related to many other noble and titled families.
Records state that George died "enterstate". I believe that he died while working at Nunney. He was buried in his church at Latton, Wiltshire. His tomb is under the floor of the church in the 7th aisle. People of this period in history believed that they would surely go to heaven if they were buried in the church. Only the wealthiest could afford a place in the church. This accounts for the records that I was fortunate to find.
The records of England are probably the best in the world when it
comes to early history, especially if you were fortunate enough to be born
Anthony Thomas Prater (GENTLEMAN):
(son of George Prater (ESQUIRE)/Jane Plott)
Anthony was the second born son in his family. His father was very wealthy, and thus his inheritance was substantial, but it was the custom in those times to give most of the inheritance, titles, etc. to the first born son. He inherited Stanton St, Bernard Manor which is located in South central Wiltshire (near the famous Stone Henge).
His older brother Richard was the heir to most of their father's property and titles. Richard lived in Nunney Castle located in Nunney, Somerset. Richard's holdings were vast, consisting of several manors (villages with all the businesses in the village), 40 farms with surfs (slaves) that lived on them, 30 farms without surfs, 4000 acres of meadow land, and approximately 300 acres of timber. Richard held the title of "Esquire" and "Lord of Nunney". Anthony was named "Trustee" of the estates when Richard died in 1580. Anthony was trustee for 6 years until Richard's son George became of age (Nunney was acquired from "Lord St. John" - Sir William Paulet).
Last updated March 7, 1999