Cefnllys Church  - St. Michael's - photo courtesy of Peter and Jackie LongleyDREW family notes
Cefynllys - Mortimer's Castle -
- a few miles N.E. of Llandrindod Wells, near Penybont

When Frank Tompson Smythe married (1890) Ada Josephine Drew, the daughter of James Drew (London hosier born 1825 at Cefnllys) and Sarah Nias, it was originally believed that there was by then no son to carry on the name of this particular branch of the Drew family - which suggests that William Somerset Drew, her brother, and the only son, had died as a child or as a young man and without children so that in the next generation, the Drew name was added to the name of Smythe to form the hyphenated, Drew-Smythe. However - another son has now been identified - (August 2002) as Nias James Drew - who moved to Australia. Thus, the words, "in Britain" should be added and used to qualify the above "only" theory. Furthermore, the name 'Somerset' (from either Smyth(e) or Drew lines) was given to the eldest son in the generation which followed - Richard David Somerset Drew-Smythe. St. Michael's Church at Cefnllys

His brother, John, received the second name 'Roderick' and there is a Merthyr Tydfil (Glamorgan) branch of the Drew family containing this 'unusual' Drew forename. It appears to come from the family line of a Jane RODERICK who married a John DREW - a son, Anthony John Drew was born to them in 1867 ... click on the image of Cefyllys Church to see a table of families connected to this story and to note other Welsh Drews of the area.

18th/19th Century Population of England and Wales













Population (millions)












In charting the spread of the name forwards it would seem that members of the original Drogo/Dreux/Dru clan from Devonshire moved out gradually across the British Isles and into a handful of specific (strategic) areas, besides inhabiting the political centre of London where many of them walked the corridors of power or became instrumental in the development of London itself.

One such man was Beriah Drew, a solicitor and attomey, from London's Bermondsey area.

The earliest record of 'Drew' in Wales is DRU of 1068 from (LDS IGI) 'Lahnyndhyng Castle'. The family of DREW descends from Richard, Duke of Normandy, King William, the Conqueror's grandfather - in lineal descent from Drogo, or Dreux.

Walter I Count of Amiens and probably of Vexin, and Valois, married Adela, probably daughter of Fulk I, Count of Anjou. He died sometime between 992 and 998. He was followed by his son, Walter II, (the White) Count of Vexin, Valois and Amiens who built the castle at Crespy in Valois and founded the monastery of St. Arnulf there in 1008.

He married Adela and died between 1017 and 1024. Among his children was Drogo (Dreux), Count of Vexin and Amiens who married Godgifu (who later married Eustace II, Count of Boulogne) sister of King Edward the Confessor, and daughter of Ethelred II, the Redeless, King of England, by his second wife, Emma, daughter of Richard I, Duke of Normandy.

This line links back to and ties in with the Tracy (Hanbury-Tracy) lines (Charlemagne) and related ancestry - including King John - which also forms part of the ancestry of the descendants of the marriage between Richard David Drew-Smythe and Jean Dionis Anstruther.

The Drew family in general descends in a direct line from John, King of England; Dermot McMurrogh, King of Leinster; the King of Connaught; Llewellyn, Prince of all Wales; the King of Man; the Earl Strongbow; Hugh de Laci, Justice of Ireland; the Bigods, Earls of Norfolk; the Genevilles, Lords of Trim, in Ireland; the Earls of March and the Earls of Salisbury.(see Burke's Royal Families of England)

The Irish branch - resident for so many generations at Mocollop Castle, Waterford - descends through the heiress of Pomeroy, from King Henry I and the families of de Mules, de Camville, de Vitrei, de Vere, de Vernon and de Valletort.

The same branch also descends through the co-heirs of Godfrey, in direct line from King Edward I, the houses of Ormond and Thomond, fromMcCarthy More and Sir Valentine Browne of Ross, ancestor of the Earls of Kenmare, in Ireland.

By Tudor and Stuart times, Drew family ancestors were represented in Ireland, Wales and Scotland and in most areas of England, especially in Devon where the family line goes back to the Norman era.

Various branches of the family in London served as magnets to country and provincial cousins bent upon seeking their fortunes in the city - which is where James Drew arrived to make his mark as 'hosier' at the Burlington Arcade, during the second half of the 19th century - a far cry from his birthplace of Cefnllys in Radnorshire.

Close cousin branches are known to have lived in Ireland (and to have migrated to Australia and the Americas) - and in Bristol, one of these branches is reputed to have produced a somewhat colourful sea captain and privateer operating out of that city.

It is believed that another cousin branch of the Drew family in Bristol was involved in the paper trade - manufacture and distribution - during the nineteenth century. Lucy Drew, associated with the Forsey family and linked to Nias ancestors may well have been part of this branch. She died in Bristol in 1902.

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