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Fascinating family tree uncovered

PUBLISHED: 16:23 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 07:56 02 July 2010

Sam Emanuel

A Hellesdon man has uncovered a fascinating chequered past while researching his family history, including a man convicted of attempted murder and possible relatives who fought alongside the real-life Braveheart character.

A Hellesdon man has uncovered a fascinating chequered past while researching his family history, including a man convicted of attempted murder and possible relatives who fought alongside the real-life Braveheart character.

Ron Moffat, who lives with his wife in Mayfield Avenue, off Cromer Road, has discovered that people with his unusual name fought as longspearmen alongside the famous Scottish patriot William Wallace in the thirteenth-century Wars of Scottish Independence.

But as well as heroes, his research has also uncovered stories of villains, including Thomas Aldridge Sturley, his grandmother's Norfolk uncle, who was imprisoned for attempted murder after shooting his uncle in a dispute about money in the 1840s.

Ron, who moved to Norfolk after being based in Horsham St Faith while in the RAF, grew up in Hampshire and did not realise he had any Norfolk connections until he found out about Mr Sturley.

He is now part of a UK clan group of about 200 members, which has its own newsletter and DNA project, and is looking for more people to join.

His interest was renewed after making contact with wealthy sheep farmer Francis Moffat in 1976, the man who proved his unbroken link back to the last chief of the Moffat clan who was called Robert and was killed by his enemies 400 years ago. Francis was subsequently named the new chief, as well as developing the Moffats' own Tartan.

Ron said: “On one of my visits to Scotland, I went into a shop to see if they had my family's tartan. They only had a tartan from the area, so I bought a tie. For years I was wearing it, but when we got the Moffat tartan I found out that the tie I had been wearing was made from the Moffat's enemies' tartan.

“I've always been interested in family history - I knew I had an unusual name and wanted to find out more about where it came from. I've been visiting record offices and researching for a long time and uncovered quite a chequered family history!”

If you have any connections to the Moffat clan, call Mr Moffat on 01603 412153.

Does your family have a particularly interesting history that you would like to share? Call Sam Emanuel on 01603 772438 or email sam.emanuel@archant.co.uk.

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