Cae Iago and the Ashtons 1750-

The Will of Daniel Jarman, yeoman, of Llanidloes, Wales, dated September 1798 (probated 1801) mentions him of Cae Iago.  The name means "James' Field".  This farm is slightly east of what is now Y Fan (Van) village and well within a small radius described around the original Jerman homesteads and small "Cantref" at Manledd. 

Daniel Jarman (1727-1801) and Martha Meredith (1729-), who married in 1751, are the source couple of hundreds, if not now thousands of contemporary Jerman descendants.    It is pretty certain they married in about 1751 and had at least twelve children, many of whom had similarly and persistently prolific offspring.    Martha was daughter of a Thomas John Meredith (d. 1768) but Daniel's origins begin at this point to get a little hazy.  More work needs to be done among the records to separate out some of the large Jerman families evident in the early eighteenth and late seventeenth centuries.  There were certainly lots of Jermans about; the problem is putting them together properly.  

The first census record point in 1841, forty years after Daniel's death, shows one of their sons, David Jarman at Cae Iago with his wife Elizabeth (Ashton) in advancing years, but of very good age given contemporary life expectancy, together with some of their children and grandchildren.  The census makes no mention of Y Fan or Van: the Census locality is squarely Manledd Township.

Elizabeth came from the also prolific local Ashton family and her marriage to Daniel is but one example of peristent inter-mingling between these two families.  They were probably a good social and economic fit.  Neither of the families were of the local minor nobility - they were a rung down from the Lloyds, Bennetts et al (although a few connections, probably of respective third or fourth sons and daughters, can be ound) - rather, they both found themselves as sturdy, independent tenant farmers keen to get on, expand and eventually buy their farms for themselves if they could.  There were different landlords in the area - some dating back hundreds of years like the settlement of some local land to the University of Oxford by Henry VIII.  Other landlords included the well-known Wynn family, who owned swathes of land all over Mid and North Wales.  Some of the larger farms sub-let tenancies to the smaller ones and there is a lot of research still to be done to look at the patterns of land ownership and tenancy through the different generations.  But what is clear now is that,  even if tenanted, it seemed common for the tenancy to pass, rather like today's ownership of a house lease, from father to son, sometimes over many generations.  It would therefore have been advantageous to marry into neighbouring farms to enjoy economies of scale and the marriages would to all intents and purposes be arranged.   The procedure would certainly not have been as formalised as it is in certain societies, but it would have been made quite clear to young people growing up what would constitute a suitable match.  Parents and grandparents would have a very strong sense of time, place and opportunity and the next generation would have felt it incumbent upon them to carry forward their mantle.   So Daniel Jarman and Elizabeth Ashton might certainly have grown up as fairly close neighbours with the fairly calculated fore-knowledge that marriage was predestined between them, and if not exactly them then one of their brothers or sisters.  If contemporary notions of courtly love accompanied such consideration then that was probably a bonus.   Most of the canny young Jermans, Ashtons and Breezes marrying in these times would have however laughed at such notions - they would be far more interested in the look of their new spouse's fields, stock and farmhouse, than anything else.

Young Jerman and Ashton boys and girls might well have had a problem actually avoiding marrying into another related family. The Jermans and associated families colonised this area - and did not really move very far from it; indeed, it was difficult to do so and people's movement away from their place of birth was severely curtailed by both lack of means and of opportunity.  So we find numerous instances of cousins marrying - and some rather too closely for today's comfort.  Some census records give hints to possible birth defects such as deaf and dumbness. In those days, though, there would have been much looser definitions of family, outside immediate nuclear ones, and the precise mapping of exact relationships over generations that is now possible would of course have been previously inconceivable.  Older communities in remoter locations would also tend to gloss over the inevitable truth that all would be related in some way. 

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