Seems that Christmas is almost upon us: so enclosed You will
find a copy of our annual Christmas letter. I thought it might
also be time to give you a report on the RUNYARD REUNION IN
ENGLAND this past spring.
There were a total of 275 Runyards from 5 different countries.
They came from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Italy, the
U.S., and of course England, I'm sorry to say that there were
only 6 from the U.S.: Godfrey Runyard and his son's Mike and Ken
(all from California), Wilson Runyard from Wisconsin, and Gwen
and myself. The vast majority were from England of course, but
for all it was a memorable outing.
The reunion for Gwen and I actually started the last part of
April when we flew to London and then drove on down to Len
Runyards, house in Hordle, Hampshire. We had never met Len, but
had been corresponding with him since 1987. Len is, of course,
the one who has done so much research on the Runyard genealogy,
the one who has shown us how we are related, and the one
primarily responsible for organizing the reunion.
We stayed six nights with Len, and his sisters Joan and Sue. Sue
very kindly gave up her room in order that Gwen and I could stay
there, Len took us to places that we had never heard of. Such
as: Puddletown, and Piddlehinton. Never heard of them? Most maps
don't show them, but they are located N.N.E of Weymouth, and
Weymouth is West of Bournemouth.
Our ancestors knew of Puddletown and Piddlehinton because they
lived there shortly after coming to England from France in the
mid to late 1500's. Probably just before or after the Massacre
of St. Bartholomew's day (August 24, 1577).
The Runnier family were Huguenots (French Protestants); while
the majority of the French, including their King, Charles IX and
his mother, Catherine de Medici, were Catholic. There had been
conflict between the Catholics and Protestants for years prior
to this, but if they had not fled before the Massacre of St.
Bartholomews, they would have left shortly thereafter. The
Massacre was ordered by the French King, Charles IX, probably at
the behest of his mother, Catherine de Medici. Thousands were
killed as many as 100,000 in Paris alone. The Catholics hunted
down the Huguenots and killed all the men, women and children
that they could find, would make anyone decide to leave.
Len's research indicates the probability that the Runnier family
(the name was not changed to Runyard till the late 1600's)
originally lived in South West France. He further believes that
they escaped first to the Channel Islands and then to England
and the county of Dorset, settling first in the Puddletown,
Piddlehinton area. And later moving to Wool and East Lulworth
and other small villages in that vicinity.