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England — West Country

  • Number of participants: 16
  • Number of haplotypes: 14
  • Haplogroup: R-M269, R-BY38768, R-DF103, R-M173
  • Number of distinct lines: 8
  • Surname variations: Malet, Mallet, Mallett, Veale
  • Shared common "Malet" ancestor? Some yes.
  • TMRCA: 500, and 900-1100 years

"The West Country" of England is located in the south western corner of England, and for the purpose of this study is comprised of the following counties, in order from West to East:

  • Cornwall
  • Devon (or Devonshire)
  • Somerset
  • Dorset

There are different definitions of the West Country that also include the counties of Gloucester (or Gloucestershire), and Wiltshire.

However one defines it, the West Country is home to the second largest concentration of Malletts in England, mostly in Devon and Cornwall.  The largest group is located in East Anglia.

Enmore, St Audries and Ash: Malet, Mallet, Veale

There is a family whose origins are in Somerset that has a documented genealogy taking them back to the earliest known incidence of the Malet surname, and the earliest known person to carry tha name, William Malet of 1066 fame.  William Malet and his son Robert had extensive land holdings recorded in the "Domesday Book" in 1086, but not in Somerset.  "Malet of Enmore" came into being when a descendant of the original William came into possession of these lands through a fortunate marriage.

The Enmore line daughtered out, but the line continues today in 2 branches:

  • Mallet of Ash
  • Malet of St Audries

"Mallet of Ash" began with yet another fortuitous marriage, when a younger son of the Enmore line married the heiress of a small estate in North Devon called "Ash", on the edge of the village of Iddesleigh.  WC3 lives in Argentina, and represents this line.  The family seems to have settled on their particular spelling of the surname somewhere in the 18th century.

"Malet of St Audries" started when another younger son of the Enmore line inherited a portion of his father's lands, an estate called West Quantoxhead, Somerset.  WC10, an Englishman from Somerset, represents this line.

WC3 and WC10 have a documented relationship — 11th cousins 3 times removed, and the DNA test supports this.

"Veale" is an offshoot of "Mallet of Ash". WC16 is a desendant of James Mallet, born 1755, the second surviving son of William Mallet and Jane Veale, who, upon the death of his grandfather Walter Veale inherited Walter's estate of Passaford, in Hatherleigh, not far from the Mallet estate of Ash in Iddesleigh.  In order to inherit, James was required to change his surname to Veale.  His descendants use several different surnames today, including Veale, Mallet-Veale, Malet-Veale, and Stafford-Veale.

North Devon: Mallet, Mallett

There are 4 family lines in North Devon whose DNA results prove that they have a common ancestor, and that that ancestor spun out of the main Malet line (Enmore, St Audries, and Ash), probably in the mid to late 16th century.  Some documentary evidence has been found that may actually prove the link of one of the 4 families to the Mallet of Ash line, through Daniel Mallet, born 1578, but none of the others have a documented link.

It should be noted that the lines described below were given their name according to the village where documentary evidence of their earliest ancestor's existence was found.  Maker is in Cornwall, while South Tawton, Shebbear and Dowland are in Devon, but the locations are all very near to one another.

"Mallet of Maker" originates with Hugh Mallet, born about 1683, and is represented by WC13, from England.  No birth record has been found for Hugh, but his very name suggests a link to the Mallets of Ash.  The given name Hugh repeats in that line, but not in any others that have been researched to date.  Hugh spent his life in the eastern part of Cornwall in the towns of Launceston, Lezant, and Maker, just across the Tamar river from Devon.

"Mallet/Mallett" of South Tawton" has 4 representatives in the study: WC6, WC11, WC12, and WC17, all born in England.  This line has a tentative link to the Mallets of Ash via James (1677), Josias (1626), and Daniel (1578).  The line has strong evidence linking it to James Mallett (1677), but James's place of birth has not been proven definitively.  There is some evidence though that he was born in Morval, Cornwall, and that his father was indeed Josias, who in turn was the son of Daniel.  At least one branch of the family uses the surname "Mallet", while the rest of them use the more common "Mallett".

"Mallett of Shebbear" finds its earliest ancestor in Henry Mallett, born about 1690.  Where exactly Henry was born is unknown, but there is a possibility that he was descended  from another of Daniel (1578) Mallet's sons.  Daniel had a son called Humphrey (1623), an uncommon name that repeats in this line, so we might assume that Humphrey represents the connecting link to the Mallets of Ash, but no hard evidence of this has been found.  Daniel had another son called Henry, and he is also a possible progenitor, given that the name Henry repeats even more often than Humphrey.  WC1 and WC2 are 5th generation Canadians, and WC15's family has been in Ireland for a similar amount of time.

"Mallett of Dowland" is represented in the study by WC8, who is a 5th generation Australian.  His earliest ancestor was Roberet Mallett, born about 1627 we know not where, and was a Miller living in Dowland, Devon.

Cornwall: Mallett

WC4 and WC7 are part of the same family, and can be traced to George Mallett in St Neot, Cornwall, in the mid 1700's.

WC5's earliest known ancestor John (1680) lived in London. 

All 3 participants are from England, but WC5 has no proven connection to WC4 and WC7, or to Cornwall for that matter. But since WC7 and WC4 differ from WC5 in their DNA results only very slightly, they have all been declared to have origins in Cornwall, because the family origins are much more likely to have been there than in London.

This group is separated from the other West Country group by a significant margin, as is evidenced by the following graphic, but is still close enough that we can consider both groups to be part of the same family, because the TMRCA falls within a timeframe where there is documented evidence that the Malet family existed in the western part of England; primarily at Enmore, Somerset, as previously stated. Further, there is documented evidence that the Malet family at Enmore intermarried over a long period of time with various families in Cornwall, which could account for the presence of at least some of the Mallett families in that county.

Staffordshire: Mallet

Staffordshire is in the Midlands, so not part of the West Country, but WC20 shows a potential 30 to 35 generation relationship with the main Malet line, so this line has been included here.  His earlest known ancestor lived in Lichfield in the late 17th, early 18th century, and may have lived in Coventry (Warwickshire) before that.