THE SHOPLAND FAMILY
(Family history research into the SHOPLAND family) History
by Robert Shopland of Clevedon, Somerset
In parts of old England, lords of the manor had the right to demand a 'chevage' payment if an unfree tenant wished to move elsewhere. The records of such payments indicate a very high rate of mobility among this class of people. Some of these emigrants travelled far from their homes, perhaps to settle in one or other of the new towns that were created between the Norman Conquest and the Black Death, or perhaps to set up home in some provincial city. A teenage boy could expect to live away from the place where he was reared, either as a servant or as an apprentice. In our family young persons of both sexes were shown to reside away from home in various census returns.
By far the largest location of our family names is Devon. We are told in W. G. Hoskins book Devon that there was a remarkable amount of movement among lower classes in Devon. They seldom went very far and it was rare to leave the county altogether. People moved father afield in the 19th-century, especially after the slump in farming of the 1820's, but in Devon they still did not move far. In Henry Brougham Guppy's 1890 book Homes of Family Names in Great Britian the surnames Shopland and Shapland are listed as peculiar to the county of Devon, as are Sharland and Shorland.
Some members of our family took up the challenge of moving to pastures new. In one of my aunt's (Gwyneyth Yeates) books she recalls that after her Grandpa Shopland (William born 1841 ) grew up he did not see eye to eye with his father, so left his home at Newton-St-Cyres, Devon, moving to Tiverton (Devon) then Bridgwater and then Weston-Super-Mare (both in Somerset) doing various carpentry jobs. At Weston Grandpa used to tell that he played his fiddle a great deal at public houses and soon had his pockets filled with money. He tired of Weston and thought he would move on again so went to the railway station to book a ticket. The booking clerk asked Grandpa if he said "Clifton" or "Clevedon". Grandpa said "Either will do, which is best?". The clerk told him that Clevedon was a growing little town, so Grandpa said "I'll go there, ticket for Clevedon please". Which is how my side of the family came from Clevedon. No doubt in the many years before Grandpa's decision the same course of action was undertaken by other family members.
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