Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Arthur and Matire Ormsby

                                    Arthur and Matire Ormsby

                                                    Written by David Bell

Before discussing Arthur and Matire, it might be useful to look at the early history (as much as I have on hand) of the Ormsby clan.

THERE ARE at least three theories on the origin of the Ormsby name. The name has its provenance in Scandinavia, the first Ormsby ancestors being of Viking stock. The most prevalent, but not necessarily correct, claims it comes from the word 'orm' meaning elm - the tree. The second theory is that it originates from the word 'orme' meaning snake. The snake is often equated to a dragon. The latter, I believe, may be the correct meaning, the snake (dragon) being a powerful viking religious symbol denoting strength and power. It is also commonly found on viking longboats and in their legends and stories.

There are three variations to the spelling of name; Ormsbee, Ormsbey, and the more familiar, Ormsby. In each instance the suffix to Orm denotes 'proximity to an elm tree' if using the elm theory or 'people of the snake' if the snake theory is favoured. However, some historians also state that while the name Orm is of Viking origin, Ormsby (as we have it today) is actually English, hailing from the days when the Ormsby family owned substantial lands in Lincolnshire with the suffix, 'by', indicating land holdings or 'farm'. Therefore, the name Ormsby could mean: those who come from a place near or by an elm tree, they of the snake clan, or people of the Orm estate. 


As is well known, the Vikings were skilled mariners and traders, travelling great distances in their longboats in search of riches. They were also formidable warriors and colonizers.


About the year 750 A.D. a man of about thirty years called Orm from the Scandinavian Peninsula joined up with a Viking Sea Captain and set off on a raid to Scotland planning to plunder the settlements along the coast and, if possible, capture some land for themselves. 

Orm was born in what is today's Sweden, probably around 720 A.D. He was renowned for his great strength and skill in battle. However, it appears he also suffered from a battle condition attributed to the viking spirit called berserker, a violent and overwhelming rage. In other words, in the heat of battle he would go 'berserk' and fling down his weapons to rush unarmed at the enemy and rip them apart with his bare hands.

The story of Orm is a great one. I'm not certain as to its veracity as the Vikings were marvelous story tellers not averse to embellishment when recounting heroic deeds. Be that as it may, this is the history handed down over the centuries and I for one am happy to own it. The rest of the story of Orm is taken verbatim from an article in the 'Genealogical Quarterly' of the Society of Australian Genealogists, the informant being noted as A. T. (Tony) Ormsby, a Sydney Solicitor.

THERE ARE MANY stories told about Orm, some of which have some foundation in truth. It is said that he used to wield a sword with one hand that any other man would have great difficulty wielding with two hands. He is also said, on one occasion, to have crushed the skull of a large bear which attacked him, with one blow of his fist. It was Orm's boast that he could wrestle and defeat any two strong men of his day.

When he joined the Viking Sea King who was going to the Scottish coast, he and the handful of men under his leadership in their longboat, were welcomed as an addition to the party. At that time Orm was in his prime and must have been about thirty years of age. As they neared the coast of Scotland, the Scots came out in their own ships to give battle. The Viking Sea King, fearful that the Scots were too strong to overpower, and wishing to spur his ships to greater effort, called them together and promised that he would grant the rule of the captured territory to the first man who put his foot on Scottish soil.

The battle with the Scots was fought about half a mile from the coast of Scotland and as the Scottish ships drew closer, the Vikings swarmed on board. Although outnumbered three-to-one by the Scots, they were able to defeat them.

                                                  

When Orm's ship came alongside one of the chief Scottish ships, Orm was the first to board and it is said that with one blow of his mighty sword he killed the three leading Scots before being overcome by one of his berserker fits. Flinging aside his sword he rushed at the nearest foe-man and lifting him high in the air, smote his head on the side of the ship bashing out his brains. But, in doing so, he neglected his other foe-man, and as he turned to defend himself, the broad axe of a Scottish Chieftain severed his leg just above the knee. Notwithstanding this, Orm encircled the the Scot in his arms and crushed the life from him.

Evidently, this incident marked the end of the battle and Orm's crew had between them succeeded in killing the crew of the Scottish boat which outnumbered them three-to-one. Then, with the crude surgery the Vikings had, they succeeded in bandaging Orm's leg and as night drew near they spent it about one mile from the coast of Scotland.

The next morning Orm, despite his frightful injury, insisted on taking the leadership of his crew and as the viking ship neared the coast, he picked up his severed leg and threw it onto the shore before the others had the opportunity to land, thus claiming the reward for having been the the first man of the crew to put his foot on Scottish soil. The Viking King kept his word and Orm became the ruler of the captured territory.


After subjugating the Scottish people, Orm settled in the new country and a few months later went back to Scandinavia and returned with his wife; unlike most of his crew who took fresh wives from among the wives of the Scottish Chieftains who had been slain in the battle previously.

Orm had only one wife and as far as the records show he remained true to her during the whole of his lifetime. After making a settlement he never went a-viking again and it is believed he lived to a considerable age and despite being handicapped by the loss of his leg, he was still reckoned as one of the strongest men in the land.

Orm had seven children, three girls and four boys. The girls married and nothing more is known of them. Two of the sons, in accordance with Viking custom, went away to distant lands and no true record of them is known; although it is believed that one of them penetrated by ship as far as the Mediterranean and then journeyed overland to India. A certain Ormun Khan, a border tribesman in the north of India and of Pathan ancestry who later fought for the British in the Great War (W.W.I), was reputed to have been a direct lineal descendant of one of Orm's children, but, although there are many legends to this effect, very little is known of this Indian branch of the family.

Of the other two of Orm's sons, both married and had families, although one died in battle at an early age. The other was a man of tremendous strength like his sire and renowned for his fighting ability. It is definitely known that he had four children and that from these are descended the Ormsby clan. It was a while later that the 'bey', 'bee', and 'by' was added, meaning, "the place over which Orm ruled." In time it became 'Ormsby', meaning Orm's place.



THE SETTLEMENT grew and prospered and after many generations began to quarrel with the government of England. After considerable fighting the King of England offered to grant the title and land in Lincolnshire to the current Ormsby ruler if he would agree to relinquish his control and live peaceably as an English subject. The Ormsby leader accepted and moved (presumably with his family) to Lincolnshire, England. The rest of the Ormsby tribe (those who never went to Lincolnshire) remained in Scotland and continued their struggles with the crown. When the king finally subjugated Scotland many moved to Ireland. As a result the Ormsby family became very numerous throughout the British Isles.


The Lincolnshire family integrated into English life and went on to become very prominent and wealthy members of society. Then, about the middle of the eleventh century, England came under attack from William the Conqueror of Normandy. The titled heads of the Ormsby family mixed into the fray against the Normans and by some circumstance ended up abducting the daughter of an important Norman nobleman. This noble maiden captured the heart of the leading Ormsby's eldest son, Richard. The son aided her to escape and accompanied her to her native land where they were married. This brought Norman praise upon the head of the young Ormsby and he was knighted, Sir Richard de Ormsby, Knight of the Norman crown. He then entered the war under William the Conqueror and returned to England fighting on the side of France.

William the Conqueror defeated England in the Battle of Hastings, 1066 A. D. and later awarded Richard Ormsby all the land his family had owned before the conquest. Sir Richard de Ormsby became the head of the family and his descendants come down to the present day.


It should understood, however, that there are many branches on the Ormsby tree. The Ormsby name is found in nearly every corner of the world, especially those countries that came under the English Empire. There are large Ormsby family groups throughout the British Isles, Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and scattered around Europe.

The Ormsby family in England adopted a crest depicting a man's arm holding in its hand a severed leg in the act of being thrown. Undoubtedly, this is to hold in memory the history of how the Ormsby family came into existence.


                                               

                                               The Ormsby Coat-of-Arms or family crest; note 
                                      the hand holding the severed leg.

AND SO to Arthur Sydney Ormsby of Puketotara, New Zealand. How did he end up so far away from mother England; here is a chart showing his line right back to Orm.

Chart 12.

Jean W. O. McGruther+Peter L. A. Bell
                   I
Daisy Te Kura Ormsby+John McGruther
                   I
Arthur Sydney Ormsby+Matire Wright

                   I
Robert Ormsby+Pianika Te Raku  
                   I
Bishop Owen Ormsby+Anne Phibbs
                   I
Gilbert Ormsby+(1)Mary Lloyd (2)Catherine Mahon

                   I
Sydney Ormsby+Sussannah Lloyd
                   I
Gilbert Ormsby+Sarah hill
                   I
Major Robert Ormsby+Miss Gilbert
                   I
Sheriff Edward Ormsby+ ?
                   I
Edmond Ormsby+(1)Sussanna Kelke (2)Elizabeth Newman
                   I
Thomas Ormsby+Miss Malby
                   I
Phillip Ormsby+ ?
                   I
William Ormsby+ ?
                   I
     John Ormsby+ ?
                   I
William de Ormsby+ ?
                   I
Richard de Ormsby+ ?
                   I
Roger de Ormsby+ ?
                   I
Sir John de Ormsby+Anne Lanworth
                   I
William de Ormsby+ ?
                   I
Anskitell de Ormsby(abt. 1307-1370)+ ?
                   I
Sir Richard de Ormsby+ ?
                   I
Sir Oswald de Ormsby+ ?
                   I
Sir Oswald de Ormsby+ ?
                   I
Sir William de Ormsby+ ?
                   I
Sir Richard de Ormsby (b. abt 1045)+ ?
                   I
About 300 years to Orm the Viking around 720 A. D.



AS CAN be seen from this illustrious genealogy, the Ormsbys go back a very long way and were well up in English and Irish society, even rubbing shoulders with royalty. As a result of their place in society extensive genealogical records have been kept through the centuries and this chart is only our direct family line back to Sir Richard de Ormsby, the man who sided with France and assisted William the Conqueror in the Norman invasion of 1066 A. D. From Sir Richard it's just a three hundred or so year hop to the great Orm himself. It has to be one of the best family genealogical records in existence with thousands of Ormsbys all over the world.

Left: Robert Ormsby (1823 ~ 1920), the 'father' of the name Ormsby in New Zealand.  

Arthur Ormsby was the son of Robert who came out to New Zealand with his older Brother George. George had spent some time in Australia doing survey work on what is today the city of Melbourne. He later shifted to Auckland, New Zealand, and Robert joined him there. Robert later moved to the Waikato where he worked as a courier delivering documents and mail across the province. It was while on that job he married a Maori woman of rank from Kawhia and together they produced 13 children. Arthur was number three. All Robert's sons acquired lands around the Pirongia, Ngutunui regions and set up large farms. Arthur's land was at Puketotara, about ten miles from Pirongia along the road to Kawhia. 


Arthur married Matire Wright, and together they had 14 children: John, Emma, Annie, Arthur, Richard, Hannah, Anthony, Daisy, James, Stanley, Ngarangi, Joseph, Robert, and Charlie. All these were born and raised at Puketotara on the family farm he and Matire broke in from the bush. by the time his life was ending he had provided farms around Puketotara-Ngutunui for all his offspring, giving them a sound start in life. 
Arthur was committed to his community and engaged in numerous civic duties. He became a highly respected member of the district.

                               Seven of the fourteen children of Arthur and Matire. From Left to right: Richard (Dick),
                               Daisy, Robert (Bob), Hana, Johnny, Ngarangi, and Sydney.

Puketotara was on the road to Kawhia and his house was always open to travellers; many weary wanderers enjoyed the hospitality of Arthur, Matire and the family.

Arthur was also a respected historian; especially regarding local Maori and community history. He even had a regular column in the Waikato Times and the local Waipa paper where he wrote very eloquently on things like the old tribal wars, the battle of Henga-aka-aka, Tainui, the Maori-Pakeha conflicts such as the war in Waitara and so forth. He was also a repository of knowledge in Tainui genealogy.

An interesting incident article in the Waikato Times in which Arthur was being charged with unlawfully taking a horse is a fascinating snippet of his life and times. It is too lengthy to write in full so the following is an abbreviated account of the affair.

Arthur found himself in court defending a claim that he he took a horse he was not entitled to and now must pay thirty one pounds and eight shillings in compensation and expenses to the plaintiff, a Mrs Ratapu. Mrs Ratapu contended, "I reside at Whatiwhatihoe (near Pirongia). I know the horse...it is a light grey horse with a dark mane and tail. I have not sold or parted with the horse, or authorised anyone to do so. On the 29th of April (1883) I lost the horse; it was taken out of my paddock. I saw a person riding it on the road and leading his own horse; it was Wati Pumi (Arthur Ormsby). I sent Hemi Mohi to get it back. I have summonsed Wati Pumi for the return of my horse. If the horse is not returned to me I want eight pounds, the value of the horse. I claim also nine pounds, fifteen shillings; five shillings a day from the 29th of April when it was taken away." In addition to these sums Mrs Ratapu was claiming for solicitor's fees, interpreter's fees, expenses, and cost of messenger appointed by the Te Awamutu Court.

It gets complicated. Apparently the horse belonged to one Takua, who was a slave to Mrs Ratapu, which probably meant the horse should be considered Mrs Ratapu's because the slave was her property. Hemi Mohi testified that he asked Wati Pumi for the horse and that Pumi refused to give it to him. Tangi Moana, who is stated to be Ratapu's husband, said he saw Pumi with the horse but didn't do anything. Hemi Mohi was sent because he knew better how to deal with Europeans. Tangi went on to say, "I did not sell Wati Pumi a horse in October 1883. I did buy a pig from him for one pound which I afterwards paid to his wife. I never said the horse was to be payment for the pig." He went on to say that the original owner of the mother of the horse was his slave Takua, and he, Tangi Moana, was to be given the fourth born foal and all others after which he was to share with Takua's daughter, a half-caste. But the girl and her mother ran away to their people in Taranaki. He said the girl ran away because he wanted her for a wife and it appears she became so soon after. What he said next must have raised a few eyebrows in the court. In his own words, "The girl, like her mother, belonged to me as my slave. I killed and ate her mother, and the girl also was my slave, and had no claim on the horse."  

Then, Wati Pumi was given his say. He stated that an old native, Rimu Manuka, came to him to purchase a pig. He didn't want to part with any of his pigs but Rimu was persistent and he relented. At that time Tangi Moana was there watching Wati handling a colt. Tangi asked him if he would buy a colt from him. Wati declined so Tangi tried another tack and said that because Rimu had pig to feed his folk he also needed one to feed people who were putting in his potatoes or he would be ashamed. Wati didn't take the bait at first but then Tangi turned on the spin by explaining that the colt was young and unbroken and he didn't want it as he was too old to break it in. Wati gave in and a happy Tangi said he would bring the horse around the next morning. Wati says, "To my surprise he kept his word but I didn't succeed in catching the horse he pointed out because it was running with my own horses. I left it there and being pleased with him said I would now give him a pig."

A day or two later the horse in question was caught and to Wati's surprise was not an unbroken colt but an older, trained horse worth much more. He went to Tangi explaining the matter but Tangi insisted it was the correct horse and told him to come back to him if anyone troubled him about it. Some time later Tangi returned and explained that he had indeed made a mistake and wanted Wati to meet with him to sort the matter out. Wati was plowing and said he would come later. In the meantime Tangi hurried to Wati's house and paid one pound to Wati's wife, Matire, in payment for the pig he had acquired earlier, saying he was in big trouble. To this point no mention had been made of Mrs Ratapu, Tangi's wife. The first time Wati heard her name was when he was summonsed. 

there are several more twists and turns but to cut this long story short it ended like this: The court struck out all Mrs Ratapu's claims except the ones for the horse and the loss of its use. Ratapu claimed the horse as belonging to her because her slave gave it to her. When Tangi Moana took the horse from her paddock and gave it to Wati Pumi she thought she had lost it until she spotted Pumi with it some time later. She believed he took it from her paddock and got angry when he refused to give it back so she took him to court. She knew nothing of the pig deal. When the whole thing turned to custard Wati tried to get it resolved through a rununga (local native council) but Ratapu refused to agree. As it turned out, Tangi Moana shouldn't have taken it from the paddock to trade for a pig, and when he was found out and in trouble, he hurriedly paid Matire for the pig so he could get the horse back...so it seems. Old Tangi Moana appears to be the real villain in the case and any claim to honour would surely have been scorned after his matter-of-fact admission that he killed and ate his slave girl's (who was also now one of his wives) mother. Our ancestor, Arthur, renowned for his willingness to help the locals, seems to have been the victim of his own softness. As he stated, "I was not in any way suspicious about the affair. I have the horse now. I value it at nine pounds. It is a better horse than I expected."

The verdict handed down by the court was as follows: That Tangi Moana had no right to dispose of the horse for a pig, which he had no doubt done; that the horse must be returned to the owner, Ratapu, or the value claimed being eight pounds; the court would allow no costs.

All up a pretty fair decision I think.

(For the full report google Wati Pumi papers past) 

Arthur Died 6 January, 1926 at his home at Puketotara. His obituary in the local newspaper adds a little more to our knowledge of one of our greatest characters on the family line. 

When, therefore, the news became current that Mr Arthur Ormsby of Puketotara, had passed away at his home, practically every household participated in the general regret at the removal of one of our earliest settlers. All the way from Waipa to Kawhia there are landed interests which have belonged, or are still in the possession of the family, and Arthur, with his brother, John Ormsby, have been the recognised links between the incoming white man and the original Maori population. 

As a settler and businessman at Te Raumoa, and at Kawhia, Mr Ormsby was among those that first attempted the civilisation of the wild wastes between the harbour and the railway, and a large family of sons and daughters continue to uphold the family tradition.

He took the keenest interest in public affairs and was always ready to assist in Philanthropic movements, the Memorial Hall at Pirongia, to which he was a liberal contributor both in cash and kind, being among the latest enterprises with which he was connected.

His home was synonymous with hospitality, and many a traveller can recall with gratitude the welcome at a dwelling where nothing was too much for the town wayfarer when roads were non-existent and houses far and few between.

His wife, the sister of the late Mrs Grey of Awaroa and Mrs Kendall of Te Mata, was a true help-meet during the hard struggles of early back-block days and fully seconded her husband's generous nature. Of the family, Mr J. A. Ormsby (Otorohanga), R. and A. Ormsby (Te Kuiti), A. S. Ormsby (Te Raumoa), and R. Ormsby (Oparau), are best known, while Miss Daisy (now Mrs J. McGruther of the Rarotonga Educational staff) was also a familiar figure in this district. The funeral obsequies took place at the family cemetery (Te Akarauti) near Puketotara last Saturday and was largely attended by both races.


Grandfather Arthur passed from this life 26 January, 1926 and lies at rest at Te Akarauti. His wife, Matire, joined him nine years later, 29 August, 1935.

Written by David Bell

Sources used

1. Local information from Mac Bell, family Kaumatua and historian.

2. Newspaper obituary.

3. Extensive Ormsby genealogical records. 


4. Waikato Times, Rorahi XXIII, Putanga 1933, page 3.



Some additional interesting material on the Ormsby name

The surname has appeared with the following spellings:
Ormesby Surname
Ormsby Surname
Ormsbee Surname
Ormsby Last Name Meaning
An old tradition, dating back before the year 1050, says that the first original ancestor of Ormesby-Ormsby-Ormsbee was Orm, so called because he came from a Place of Elms (Etymology Dictionary by William Arthur, M.D.). Orm was the old Scandinavian word for Elm or Elm Tree, or Elm Trees. Bey, By, Bye were places, any places where people resided.
Ormsby Surname Origin
The original Orm lived in the Scandinavian Peninsula. He was a Lord. (Lord meant, not nobility but a person who owned or who controlled large tracts of land) Orm did. In that section, and during those times a rich man might have as many wives as his possessions might support. Orm had several and raised a large family of boys. As the boys grew to manhood, Orm followed the custom of those times and gave each of his male offspring a portion of the land he owned. When the youngest and last son reached manhood there was no more land, so this latest son required to seek and forge for himself.

He joined a Viking crew under the leadership of an old experienced Viking, who during about the middle of the eighth century plundered the coast of Scotland in one of those Long Ships of Rowing Galleries popular at that time among Vikings and Pirate Sea Kings.

On one of his excursions to Scotland, the Scots were better prepared and came out upon the sea to give battle. The Scots were getting the best of the fight when the old Viking called his crew together, together, asked them to fight harder, and promised to make that particular one the ruler of captured territory who should be the first to set foot on Scottish soil.

During the fight which ensued Young Orm had his leg severed just above the knee by the broad sword of the Scots. He tied it up. The Viking won, and as they neared the Scottish soil Young Orm suddenly arose, picked up his severed leg and threw it overboard onto the land and claimed the reward as being the first to put his foot on Scottish soil. He finally recovered from his wound and the Viking kept his word making Young Orm the ruler of the captured territory.

The termination bye meaning a place or settlement was added later, undoubtedly from the colony over which Orm was made ruler.

Many generations passed during which there was continual conflict between the Ormesbys and the King of England. The King's troops could not subdue the Ormesbys and the Ormesbys could not conquer England. At the time of the conflict with England which terminated in the complete subjection of Scotland, the Ormesbys had become a powerful clan and England offered a baronage to the then Ormesby leader if he would renounce his allegiance to Scotland and to his Clan and move himself and his personal family to Lincolnshire.

Ormesby did so renounce his Clan and Allegiance to Scotland and moved to Lincolnshire. Those who remained in Scotland fought until they could carry on the war no longer. A part of them submitted to English rule and remained in Scotland where the family still exists in large numbers. The greater part, however, refused to submit and emigrated to Ireland (northeast) where they are still a numerous people. Others moved to various sections, probably changing names according to the customs of the time.

The Ormesbys of Lincolnshire eventually became a massive family, and in the middle of the eleventh century, in a war with France, in which William the Conqueror played such an important part, the then, Baron Ormesby captured the daughter of a French Nobleman and held her for high ransom. The Baron's son, whose name was William, in defiance to his father's project fell in love with the supposedly beautiful girl; helped her to escape, and went with her back to the Northerly part of France known as Normandy. Here, because of his heroic act, he became a hero to the Norman people. William the Conqueror then took him into the army, and after the subjection of England in 1050 dispelled the leading Baron of the Ormesbys and in his place established Young William, giving him the title of William de Ormesby, Knight. Many of the Ormesbys, byes, bys, bees of today claim descent from this character, meaning, or should mean no doubt, to the clan of people whom he headed.

The story of Orm and the Viking expedition has come down from the time recording began, and is supposed to account for the tradition regarding the severed leg used in the Ormsby Coat-of-Arms. More of the story accounts for the way the historic William de Ormesby, Knight, of whom so many descendants are proud, come into being.
Source: London England, Genealogist

Additional Facts of Interest:
Ormsby is a combination of the old Scandinavian personal (as distinguished from family) name "ORM" and the Danish word "BY" or "BYE" meaning "Town". Its original signification therefore, was "ORM'S Town" or possible estate. The Village of Ormsby in North Riding of Yorkshire, England is one surviving example of its original use as a place name. As a patronymic, Ormsby belongs to that large class derived from geographic locations.

William Elliot Ormsby wrote, in 1941, about Sir Richard de Ormesby:

The name of Ormsby is of Saxon origin and founded before the Norman Conquest. The name means, literally, "The dwelling of Orme." It was first spelled Ormesby meaning "By the Orme." It was taken by the man who lived there. That man was Sir Richard De Ormesby. He owned a large estate which he called Ormsby, leaving out the "e". That estate is now Ormsby Parish, in Lincolnshire, England. The castle he lived in was "The Orme". . . Sir Richard was established at "The Orme" in the early eleventh century. Because of his bravery, honest, and integrity, "William the Conqueror" allowed him to keep all his property and lands after the Conquest (1066) . . . They (various Ormsby spellings) all have Sir Richard as a common progenitor. (Provided by William Elliot Ormsby's great, great-grandfather, Heather Byrd).
Source: Colonial Families of America


The Ormsby Surname


The following was taken from the London, England Genealogist. An issue prior to 1905.
The surname has appeared with the following spellings:
Ormesby
Ormsby
Ormsbee
An old tradition, dating back before the year 1050, says that the first original ancestor of
Ormesby-Ormsby-Ormsbee was Orm, so called because he came from a Place of Elms (Etymology Dictionary by William Arthur, M.D.). Orm was the old Scandinavian word for Elm or Elm Tree, or Elm Trees. Bey, By, Bye were places, any places where people resided.
The original Orm lived in the Scandinavian Peninsula. He was a Lord. (Lord meant, not nobility but a person who owned or who controlled large tracts of land) Orm did. In that section, and during those times a rich man might have as many wives as his possessions might support. Orm had several and raised a large family of boys. As the boys grew to manhood, Orm followed the custom of those times and gave each of his male offspring a portion of the land he owned. When the youngest and last son reached manhood there was no more land, so this latest son required to seek and forge for himself.
He joined a Viking crew under the leadership of an old experienced Viking, who during about the middle of the eighth century plundered the coast of Scotland in one of those Long Ships of Rowing Galleries popular at that time among Vikings and Pirate Sea Kings.
On one of his excursions to Scotland, the Scots were better prepared and came out upon the sea to give battle. The Scots were getting the best of the fight when the old Viking called his crew together, together, asked them to fight harder, and promised to make that particular one the ruler of captured territory who should be the first to set foot on Scottish soil.
During the fight which ensued Young Orm had his leg severed just above the knee by the broad sword of the Scots. He tied it up. The Viking won, and as they neared the Scottish soil Young Orm suddenly arose, picked up his severed leg and threw it overboard onto the land and claimed the reward as being the first to put his foot on Scottish soil. He finally recovered from his wound and the Viking kept his word making Young Orm the ruler of the captured territory.
The termination bye meaning a place or settlement was added later, undoubtedly from the colony over which Orm was made ruler.
Many generations passed during which there was continual conflict between the Ormesbys and the King of England. The King's troops could not subdue the Ormesbys and the Ormesbys could not conquer England. At the time of the conflict with England which terminated in the complete subjection of Scotland, the Ormesbys had become a powerful clan and England offered a baronage to the then Ormesby leader if he would renounce his allegiance to Scotland and to his Clan and move himself and his personal family to Lincolnshire.
Ormesby did so renounce his Clan and Allegiance to Scotland and moved to Lincolnshire. Those who remained in Scotland fought until they could carry on the war no longer. A part of them submitted to English rule and remained in Scotland where the family still exists in large numbers. The greater part, however, refused to submit and emigrated to Ireland (northeast) where they are still a numerous people. Others moved to various sections, probably changing names according to the customs of the time.
The Ormesbys of Lincolnshire eventually became a massive family, and in the middle of the eleventh century, in a war with France, in which William the Conqueror played such an important part, the then, Baron Ormesby captured the daughter of a French Nobleman and held her for high ransom. The Baron's son, whose name was William, in defiance to his father's project fell in love with the supposedly beautiful girl; helped her to escape, and went with her back to the Northerly part of France known as Normandy. Here, because of his heroic act, he became a hero to the Norman people. William the Conqueror then took him into the army, and after the subjection of England in 1050 dispelled the leading Baron of the Ormesbys and in his place established Young William, giving him the title of William de Ormesby, Knight. Many of the Ormesbys, byes, bys, bees of today claim descent from this character, meaning, or should mean no doubt, to the clan of people whom he headed.
The story of Orm and the Viking expedition has come down from the time recording began, and is supposed to account for the tradition regarding the severed leg used in the Ormsby Coat-of-Arms. More of the story accounts for the way the historic William de Ormesby, Knight, of whom so many descendants are proud, come into being.
Additional Facts of Interest:
From: Colonial Families of America
Ormsby is a combination of the old Scandinavian personal (as distinguished from family) name "ORM" and the Danish word "BY" or "BYE" meaning "Town". Its original signification therefore, was "ORM'S Town" or possible estate. The Village of Ormsby in North Riding of Yorkshire, England is one surviving example of its original use as a place name. As a patronymic, Ormsby belongs to that large class derived from geographic locations.
William Elliot Ormsby wrote, in 1941, about Sir Richard de Ormesby:
The name of Ormsby is of Saxon origin and founded before the Norman Conquest. The name means, literally, "The dwelling of Orme." It was first spelled Ormesby meaning "By the Orme." It was taken by the man who lived there. That man was Sir Richard De Ormesby. He owned a large estate which he called Ormsby, leaving out the "e". That estate is now Ormsby Parish, in Lincolnshire, England. The castle he lived in was "The Orme". . . Sir Richard was established at "The Orme" in the early eleventh century. Because of his bravery, honest, and integrity, "William the Conqueror" allowed him to keep all his property and lands after the Conquest (1066) . . . They (various Ormsby spellings) all have Sir Richard as a common progenitor. (Provided by William Elliot Ormsby's great, great-grandfather, Heather Byrd).
Jim Ormsby <jimormsby@hotmail.com>
May 12, 2002
My name is Jim Ormsby and I am from a little hick town on the Gulf Coast called Clute, Texas. I started doing Ormsby family research in 1969, when I was in my mid-twenties. It had to be done by hand in those days, and it took weeks to get an answer, if you ever got one. I did a lot of research through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Genealogical Library in Salt Lake, and became very familiar with the Family Research Centers in England, including the Heraldic Historical Records of the Library of London. I hope you won't mind my making a few comments about our family's origin.
We are not decended from the native peoples of Scotland, but from Vikings. The Historical Records Center in London is quite clear on the matter; our root name is ORME, not ORM, and all the early generations after the original ORME spelled the name ORMESBY, not ORMSBY. It was only after there came to be political differences and split alliances that the name began to be spelled differently, as to differentiate one family's alliances from another. ORME means "snake", although not as docile as "elm tree", it is most significant from a Viking standpoint. The snake is a very powerful symbol in Viking religion and represents virility and strength. Based on heraldic records information, I believe that ORME came from Orme, Denmark, which was an ancient Viking settlement, around the year 495, and as your paper indicates, became a ruler of a portion of Scotland around that time. Descendants of ORME added the "sby" to indicate that they came from the land of ORME, and the name was further changed as political and territorial necessity required. Heraldic records show that there were three distinct family shields, depending on the era, and each has in common the arm holding the leg as if to throw it, giving credence to the legend of ORME's ascension to kingship as true. When written records began to be made around 700 or so, such legends were written as fact, when most could not be verified. The Coat of Arms seems to verify ORME's legend as fact.
This is the second record I have seen that mistakenly gives our family root name as ORM, and I hope you do not take offense at my aggressive posture regarding this issue. My own father paid about $500 for a so-called "family crest research" back in the 1970's. I was in the middle of my own research at the time, and he did not know of my results until I had proof and verification of my findings. When he proudly showed me his "official" documents, listing our family shield as having "a dove rising on the wind" in one corner, and (I don't even remember what the other items were) other ridiculous things, I couldn't contain my displeasure, but I didn't want my dad to feel bad, so I didn't say anything right away, rather waited about six months to show him my research and the true shields and crests that I obtained from the Library of London. I appreciate all the work that is done in the name of good, even the mistakes. My intention is to correct a mistake, not to insult the researcher, who has spent much time and effort to come to their conclusion. I might suggest that for truly ancient records about family histories, that one go to the likeliest place where those records might be found and depend on them, not someone else's opinion, even mine. Opinions are like armpits, everyone has at least two.

As genealogists say, good luck and good hunting! JimBO

Orm – The Viking Warrior
Posted on March 7, 2015
ORM was a Viking, probably one of the Halfdans, who was born in the early part of the eighth century in what is now known as Sweden, around 750 AD, “Orm of the Scandinavian Peninsula,” joined a group of sailors, under the leadership of a Viking Sea King who had ambitions of  plundering the coast of Scotland and capturing land for Viking settlements.
According to legend, ORM was noted for his tremendous skill in battle together with his great strength. However, it seems that in battle he was apt to become subject to strange fits of berserk rage and frequently flung down his weapon and would rush unarmed to meet his adversary, which eventually would lead to his downfall.
There are many stories told about ORM, some of which may have some foundation of truth. It is said that he used to wield a sword with one hand that any other man would have difficulty in wielding with two hands. It is also said, on one occasion, to have crushed the skull of a large bear, which attacked him, with one blow of his fist. It was Orm’s boast that he could wrestle and defeat any two strong men of his day.
Nevertheless, when he joined the Viking sea king’s adventure, at the age of about 30, he led a handful of men, in their Viking longboat and were enthusiastically welcomed into the invading army. As they neared the coast of Scotland, the Scots came out in their own ships to engage in battle. The leader of the Viking forces, fearful that the Scots may be too strong, called his men them together and in an effort to spur-on his army, promised that he would grant the rulership of the captured territory to the first man who put his foot on Scottish soil.
The battle with the Scots was fought about a mile from the coast of Scotland, and as the Scottish ships drew closer, the Vikings swarmed on board. Although outnumbered three to one by the Scots, the fearsome Vikings won the day. When Orm’s ship came alongside of one of the Scottish ships, ORM was the first to board, and it was said, that with one blow of his mighty sword he killed the three Scots, and then slaughtered a further six until he was overcome by one of his notoriously, uncontrollable fits of rage.
Flinging aside his sword, he rushed at his nearest Scot and, lifting him high in the air he bludgeoned the head on the side of the ship. However,  in doing so he neglected other Scot fighters, and as he turned to defend himself, the broad axe of the Scottish Chieftain severed his leg just above the knee. Not to be beaten, the story has it, that ORM picked up the Scottish chief in his arms and “bear-hugging” him, crushed him to death.
This incident marked the end of the battle with ORM and his crew victorious despite being outnumbered – three to one. Using the basic surgery that the Vikings possessed, they succeeded in bandaging Orm’s leg and as the night was drawing near, the invading army spent it off the coast of Scotland. The next morning, despite his frightful injuries, Orm insisted on leading his crew on the invasion, and as the Viking ship neared the coast Orm picked up his severed leg and threw it on the shore before the others had the opportunity to land; so claiming the reward for having been the first man to put his foot on Scottish soil!
The Viking chief kept his word and Orm became ruler of the captured territory. After subjugating the Scottish people, he settled in the new country, a few months later sailing back to Scandinavia to return with his wife and establish a life in Britain.
Orm had seven children, four boys and three girls. The girls married and nothing further is heard of them. Two of the sons in accordance with the Viking customs went away to far distant lands and whilst information is scant, it is believed that one of his sons reached the  Mediterranean Sea and eventually travelling to India.
The other two of Orm’s children both married and had children although one died in battle at an early age. The surviving son was a man of tremendous strength like his father and it is known that he eventually, had four children and that the family that gradually migrated south towards what is now Lincolnshire. During this migration, these descendants populated many parts of the North of England.
Born in 965, or thereabouts, it was an heir, and prominent thane, retaining the family name, Orm, and holding a number of significant estates, that gave his name to our village (amongst a number of others including Ormskirk and Ormesby).
Marrying into royalty, with Etheldreda daughter of Siward, the Earl of Northumbria and niece of Duncan, King of Scotland – (this) Orm had a son Gamel (now taking the surname de Spofford) who eventually acquired significant,and large, estates in the counties of York, Lincoln, Derby, Stafford, Salop and Chester.
Upon the death of the Earl of Northumbria, Edward the Confesser intervened in the succession and appointed Tostig Goodwinson (the king’s brother in law) to the position. Tostig was extremely unpopular with both his subjects and peers alike, and in 1064 ordered the murders of a number of neighbouring, critical lords, including Gamel.
Gamel’s son, Gamelbar inherited the family estates and further developed his position as a successful thane. In 1065, and to avenge his father’s murder, Gamelbar led a revolt against Tostig, marched to York and defeated his house troops. The “bloody” feud continued between the two houses until, in 1065, King Edward sent his brother-in-law Harold to secure a truce.
Successfully accomplished, Harold recommended that Tostig be stripped of his title and be exiled. Upon King Edwards death in 1066, Harold became king, although the succession was disputed by many parties including Harald Hardrada of Norway, claiming that Edward had promised him the crown and to establish his claim, he immediately launched an invasion.
Unsurprisingly, Tostig joined forces and  between them they succeeded in conquering York. Upon learning of the fall of York, the now King Harold, “force marched” his troops to the north where he caught Tostig and Hardrada by surprise. They were defeated at the Battle of Stamford Bridge with both Tostig and Hardrada killed.
However, even as the fighting was being concluded, news reached the King about William’s, norman army landing on the south coast of England. He immediately put his exhausted, and still bloodied army on a march south to meet them.10 days later, they met at the battle of Hastings, where Harold died (as did his two remaining brothers) – and the successful, William became “William the Conqueror”.
During this time, Gamelbar de Spofford remained loyal to King Harold and in 1068 participated in a revolt against King William and his Norman court to restore the English crown. However the revolt was defeated with William exacting his revenge for the treason, stripping the de Spofford family of all of its estates , castles and mansions.


 

 

 



 



 



 


2 comments:

  1. Hi
    My name is Debbie Robinson and I am a descendant of Gilbert Ormsby & Sarah Hill through their son George. It has been told that Sidney was the only one to have descendants but I was able to procure an article by Irish Genealogical Society where it is written that another son of Sidney's, George did have descendants as well and my ancestor Matthew Phibbs Ormsby came to South Australia from Ireland and is burried at Kadina South Australia. I have an extensive family tree of the Ormsbys' in South Australia if you would like to have it. Also just a point about George Owen Ormsby came to South Australia, 1836 aboard the Buffalo (in the year South Australia was founded) with Colonel Light who was chief surveyor, George helped him with surveying Adelaide. Then George went back to Ireland and married and went to Auckland which he helped to survey as well. I remember my grandfather always tell us about what Orm did, well before the advent of the internet, thought he was joking. Wonderful website, Love to hear from you and keep up the good work.

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  2. Hi,My name us Ron Bunting and quite by accident i found your site when trying to find information about my GGgrandmother Alice jane Wright,Who,as you might be aware was Matires Sister. It took me a while to find the surname because Alices Wedding certificate only had Richard Wrights name and her mother down as Mereana -Native. I have two photos of jane, Who was a striking looking woman with her mother who is supposed to be TeWheroWheros sister. That I haven't worked out. unfortunately my uncle Fred Kendall Died in 1979 before I got any more information from him . But he was insistent that the Family line was direct and that Rewi maniapoto, Te Rauparaha and Te Whero whero all came from the same family line.If you could shed any light on the Wright Family i would be most appreciative. Kind Regards,Ron Bunting.

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