Designed as a vacation and 20 years in the making, it ended up with an itinerary
more intense than that of a business trip, but it was one of the most
enjoyable adventures of my life. The journey finally happened because some
folks from Maule, France who visited me in 1996 persuaded me there were
no more reasons for delay and because
several cousins in Great Britain had grown weary inviting me to visit. It was
time to make the pilgrimage....
More than a "bon voyage" it was a "tour magnifique"! Daytime rain
on only one day of 26? Yep. Just about everything went right (which for
me is remarkable). Even the British Airways strike brought me a direct
flight to Paris in lieu of a two-leg journey through London (which would
have cost double had it been booked that way from the outset). So for
Maules who are considering taking such a journey, here are some
highlights. And for those not Maules, it's worth a look -- there are some
scary photos in here.
So, on with the highlights (there's only so much disk space available.....)
Let's begin (as did the family) in
The name of the town?
Yep, you've got it. Maule, France, an absolutely delightful "ville" whose
residents welcomed me with unbridled enthusiasm and
"So what was the best part of my visit to France?" One
thing? Impossible; there were many best parts:
Seeing the first roadsign
(well, it was really the second -- the camera wasn't ready for
the first. Actually, the photographer wasn't ready, but....
Getting a VIP tour of the Maule Museum (well, actually it's
operated by the Association Culturelle pour l'Information de
Maule et des Environs, but Maule Museum has such a nice
ring to it.....)
Hiking up to the town cemetery, from which there is a great view of Maule and only one Maule family gravestone, most of the family
that had not emigrated to Britain having left (or having been slaughtered
by the King of Navarre during the Hundred Years' War) before this
cemetery was "opened" outside of the town as a place to bury
victims of the Black Plague. (Tough to read, but the name on
the gravestone is "Irene de Maule.")
Spending an afternoon at Versailles.
Walking from one end of Paris to another on Bastille Day.
in Maule very late that same day.
Wandering through the neighboring towns, all with Maule family
connections, including Herbeville, Montainville,
Mareil-sur-Mauldre, Beynes, and stopping by
the nearby estates, such as Beaurepaire and Le Ferme
Pennemort (Panmure in English, identical to the name of the Maule
family estates in Scotland and the title of the Barony and Earldom held
by the foremost of the Scottish Maules).
Returning to Versailles, to the Archives of the Department of
Yvelines, to see ancient documents connected to the town of Maule,
and being graciously entertained by M. Arnaud Ramiere de Fortanier,
Conservator General of the Patrimony and Director General of the Archives.
Enjoying a marvelous goodbye dinner in a garden just beneath the
walls of the ancient church on my last evening in Maule. J'espere revenir.
A wonderful time, thanks to the smooth planning, generosity, and hospitality
of many wonderful friends: Francoise and Jean-Claude Baxas, Rolf
and Francoise Svensson, Marcel Treboit, Etienne and Maggie
Pattou, Christine Gerdolle, Gerard Mulot, the members of
the Conseil Municipal, and the members of the Association Culturelle pour
l'Information de Maule et des Environs who were part of the "Saturday morning
From Paris to London Waterloo Station via the Chunnel on the Eurostar, a taxi
ride through London to Kings Cross Station, and another 4-1/2 hours on a train, and
I had arrived in
This is some of what I did in the space of 11 days:
I visited with cousin John P. Maule of Balerno, with whom I had
exchanged letters and information for almost 16 years, and met his son
Peter Maule and granddaughter Jane (Maule) Bowe.
I drove to Carnoustie, which is "twinned" to Maule, France,
where once again I discovered that one never knows when
a sign of the family
may turn up around the next corner, when a variant of the Maule coat
of arms might appear on a town building,
and where Annie Thompson, one of the members of the
"twinning" committee, took me on a tour of several important
places connected with the Maule family:
Extending from just to the west of the town and extending as far as one can see and beyond
are the lands of the Panmure Estates, once held by the family and now
held partly by an insurance company and partly by others.
Several miles north of the town is
Kelly Castle, once held by the Barons Maule of Kelly and now
owned by Gerald Coulson of Kelly, Baron of Kelly, who
very kindly invited me to see his excellent rehabilitation work and to
tour the gardens of Kelly Castle.
I stayed a few nights in Edzell (at a fine hotel called
The Glenesk), once part of the Maule estates, where the principal tourist attraction is the ruins of Edzell Castle, and its finely maintained gardens, with respect to
which one of the staff remarked, "Your family was the last to own the place." (The
Lindseys had held the castle for centuries, but when the last of the
clan went bankrupt the Maules purchased it and its estates, but lost
them to the government when James Maule, 4th Earl Panmure, was
attainted for supporting James VII's bid for the crown).
From Edzell I made a visit to Tarfside in the Glenesk,
also land once held by the family, where I saw several special places:
Gazing into the western horizon, I spotted the Maule Memorial on a distant hill. (Tough to
see but its at the top of the hill in the center of the photo).
I stopped for lunch at a tea room called The Retreat, which also
houses a museum, discovering that the building was the hunting
retreat of the Maules and the museum sometimes called the Maule Museum
(yes, another one!). I don't know who was more surprised, the folks in the
gift shop who reacted enthusiastically to my name on my credit card or
myself when I saw that Her Highness and members of the Royal family
had visited and signed the guest book (which was now under glass).
I was just a tad late.
I accepted an invitation from Lord and Lady Ramsay to
visit their home, Brechin Castle,
a long-time residence of the Maule family, which continues to be held
by the Ramsay branch of the family. Warmly received and kindly
entertained, I was overjoyed by this special "tour of Maule history"
and the opportunity to gaze upon something like
Robert Maule's 1611 history of
the family. I was delighted to greet Simon Ramsay, Earl
of Dalhousie, with whom I had exchanged letters and who had
generously hosted the American Maule cousins who travelled to
Scotland in 1991.
The famous Locked
Gates (locked on orders of James Maule, 4th Earl Panmure in
1715, when he went into exile after being attainted for supporting
James VII's claim to the crown, and having remained locked ever
since, not to be unlocked until "a Stuart again sits on the throne.")
The place where Panmure House, the Maule family seat, once stood.
(Panmure house, built in the 14th century,
rebuilt in the 17th century, and after being repurchased by the
family, was enlarged during the 19th
century, met a cruel fate
in the early 1950s when the cost of refurbishment and the taxation
rates combined to bring an end to what was called "the finest home in
Scotland save Holyroodhouse.")
Yes, I spent much time in libraries, where I discovered much
genealogical information not available to me in the States.
I also had a chance to wander around, discovering that only a
few steps from John Knox' House one
finds yet another reminder of the family's
pervasiveness (and for all those Maule punsters, remember that
in Scotland, "close"means "alley" and not "nearby"!)
I climbed Calton Hill, getting a bird's
eye view of the town, including Holyroodhouse.
When I went to Edinburgh Castle,
I was asked to stand in a place where I had a front row view of the
ceremony in which the Royal Scots Dragoon
Guards arrived at the Castle, bringing the gold disc awarded to it
25 years ago when its recording of Amazing Grace reached 100,000
in sales after 7 weeks at the "Top of the Pops." Given that the Regiment
was returning home after peace keeping duties in Bosnia, it was rather
serendipitous that I found myself reminded that back home at Villanova
many of the students and some faculty and staff are involved in their
own way through Project
Bosnia in attempts to perpetuate peace. It made the view of the city from the Castle somewhat of
It was time for another train ride (two, actually), taking me to
I arrived in Warwick, the site of the Public Records Office for
Warwickshire, the birthplace of
Thomas Maule of Salem, Massachusetts, my ancestor. That's
a different and long story, and as there are no pictures, let's get
to the visually interesting stuff:
Since it claims to be the "best medieval castle in England,"
I made my way to Warwick Castle,
and decided that since Brechin Castle is in Scotland I'd not argue
the claim. It truly is a magnificent
Many of the Earls of Warwick (and lots of other famous people, including
some in other parts of my ancestral charts) are buried in the Collegiate
Church of St. Mary in Warwick, so I had a look and found, among other
marvelous things, some more beautiful
When I arrived at my hotel I discovered that the musicians playing
in the pub were guests who had finished performing at the Warwick
Folk Festival which had ended that day. Entertained by some of England's
finest. Nice welcome, eh?
Then it was another train ride (three, to be accurate), through some of
the most spectacular scenery yet, bringing me to
Unfortunately, I didn't stay very long. I wished that I had been there
for many more days. Why?
I was the guest of Martin and Glynnis Maule, with whom
I've exchanged letters and information for several years and who took
me into Dollegau to see the Quaker Center, where there was
an exhibition featuring Welsh Quakers who had emigrated to Pennsylvania,
including the grandfather of Thomas Maule, Jr's wife, Zillah Walker. Not so unexpected to see Merion,
Bryn Mawr and Radnor placenames on the maps, but
somewhat startling to see Villanova in Wales.
I visited the mountaintops, where the scenery is spectacular and
the lakes deep blue.
Into the car with my cousins and through the mountains, forests, and small towns of
Wales until we reached
First it was to Exeter:
Martin, Glynnis and I visited Brian and Beryl Maule, who
were pleased to finally meet Brian's American "email pal" (or is it
"digital pen pal"?) Brian is the archivist, genealogist, and historian
of the British branches of the family. Take a look at Brian's
Maule Family History Homepage to get a glimpse into how
much he has contributed to the compilation of the Maule Genealogy.
After Martin and Glynnis left the next morning to visit their
children, Brian and I exchanged information for hours. I would have
stayed for weeks had I not had a train to catch.
Then, on to London:
Yes, I spent a day at the Library of the Society of
Genealogists, where I could and should have spent a month.
Oh well, guess where Martin's going to go? :)
And I spent the final day of this expedition playing
tourist, though I must clarify that I visited this particular site voluntarily.
And then, late on the last day, it finally started raining.
So I came home.
Comments welcome. I have 460 pictures, so I've
bothered you with only a small fraction, assuming the
rest would be of much less interest. Let me know if
Simply send email to me:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Maule)
The Maule portion of this page was reviewed in Courier de Mantes, the newspaper of a town very near to Maule, France. It's in French, of course, and if you cannot read French (and don't want to use a computer translator program), trust me, the writer says nice things. :-) The writer noted that I had vowed to return. And I did, in 1999 and in 2001 (and I will be there again soon). And, yes, there are more pictures. Do you REALLY want those posted, too? :-)