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Read on – you could be related to Princess Diana

By Toby Neal | South Shropshire | Nostalgia | Published:

Calling all Shropshire Medlicotts - your relatives over the pond in Canada would be interested in hearing from you. And another thing. They think you might be related to the late Princess of Wales.

Left; Retired teacher Joan Anhorn, nee Medlicott. Right; Princess Diana.

Retired solicitor Bill Anhorn of Medicine Hat, Alberta, has been doing some family history and has traced his wife Joan's family origins to a spot on the map in Shropshire - the tiny hamlet of Medlicott, in the shadow of the Long Mynd.

He has established a strong Canadian connection to the Medlicotts from the county, and also a royal link, and now wants to compare notes.

Where it all began. A view towards Medlicott, in the shadow of the Long Mynd.

And he says that one day soon the couple would like to travel to Shropshire, meet newly-discovered relatives, and visit the hamlet where it all began.

"It would be nice to establish an English connection. I look forward to hearing from anyone who has any relevant information," said Bill, who can be contacted at wjanhorn@gmail.com on email, and who before retirement was a senior partner with a law firm and more recently was a member of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.

His wife Joan Elaine Anhorn, nee Medlicott, is a retired teacher, and Bill says in a "dream come true" he has found that she is related to Lady Di.

Bill Anhorn

Bill said: "Since I started this 'little' project in July it has taken on a life of its own. On our Medlicott family tree using ancestry.ca I have added over 500 names.

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"As you can imagine the English Medlicotts from Shropshire have grown exponentially. Of particular interest to me is that I established a connection of the Shropshire Medlicotts to the royal family and in particular of my wife to Diana, Princess of Wales.

"Using a Family Relationship Chart, and depending on your interpretation, being no expert on its use, she is either the 14th cousin once removed or first cousin 14 times removed. Of course, I like the latter, as it sounds better. I am sure many of your Shropshire Medlicotts may have an even closer connection to Lady Di."

Bill and Joan live at Medicine Hat, Alberta

Bill says he traced Joan's family back as far as 985 to Roger de Montgomery, a cousin of William the Conqueror. The Medlicott connection to royalty was, he says, forged in the 15th century when Eleanor Thynne married John Medlicott. Ralph Thynne, Eleanor's great uncle, has been identified as the 14 times great-grandfather of the Princess of Wales, says Bill.

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Bill says he has discovered that the first recorded Medlicott was Llewellyn de Medlicott in the 12th century, taking the name from the Manor of Medlicott in the parish of Wentnor.

And wife Joan traces her Shropshire ancestry to Thomas Medlicott, born in 1530 in Medlicott, Wentnor.

"There is a clear and unmistakable connection between the Canadian Medlicott family of Joan Elaine Medlicott, and Medlicott, Wentnor, Shropshire, England."

Joan was born at Medicine Hat on December 6, 1950. Her grandfather Thomas came from Birkenhead, but looks to have emigrated to Canada in 1912 to meet his brother Edward who had already emigrated to Calgary in Alberta. Both brothers were painters.

After service in the Great War, Thomas married Helen Williams of Birkenhead on June 4, 1919, the day after her arrival in Canada from Liverpool. Son Norman - Joan's father - was born at Medicine Hat on June 29, 1924, and Bill thinks he may have been the first person born with the surname Medlicott in Alberta.

Bill said: "The newly-found relationship of this Canadian branch of the Medlicott family and Shropshire has been most interesting and my hope is that someday soon my wife and I will be able to travel to this part of England and meet newly-discovered relatives, and stand and revel in the birthplace of the surname Medlicott."

As for Medicine Hat, he said: "Medicine Hat’s claim to fame is its huge natural gas reserves literally underneath the city which caused Rudyard Kipling to say when travelling across Canada in the early 1900s that the city has 'all hell for a basement.'

"In a recent movie called 'Allied' starring Brad Pitt about a Canadian RAF pilot in World War Two, he mentions on several occasions about his dream after the war of going back to Medicine Hat and establishing a ranch!"

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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