On my first day at secondary school, the English teacher came in to take the first lesson and began by calling the register. When he got to me, I said, 'Yes, sir,' like the other boys had done but he stopped and looked at me. 'Ah, Pritchard,' he said, 'did you know your name is Welsh?'
'Well it is. It comes from ap Richard.' He wrote it on the blackboard, adding, 'meaning son of Richard. You're obviously descended from someone called that.'
That evening, when I told my father what Mr Cooke had said, he replied, 'Yes. It means we're descended from Richard the Lionheart (King of England 6th July 1189 to 6th April 1199). I don't know whether it's true or not but that's what I was told.'
'How?' I asked.
'He'd supposed to have had an illegitimate son.'
I've researched this subject and find that it is perfectly feasible if not now provable. Before he went on the Third Crusade that he led against Saladin, he sent his Chief Minister around Wales, gathering together a party of soldiers. They travelled to the Holy Land together with their wives (how else would they get their hands on any of their husbands' pay at that time?) While they were there, it is believed to have been a matter of record that some of Richard's men complained that he was paying more attention to their wives that he should have done.
Contributed by Ken Pritchard on 2012-03-08 11:38:06