The headless Lord Chancellor and the legless aviator

(or “Reach for the Woolsack” or “More Mores”)

Kenneth More (left) was most famous for his role as Douglas Bader in Reach for the Sky, as well as appearing in A Night to Remember and The 39 Steps, but he occasionally spoke or wrote about being descended from Sir Thomas More, without providing references. Here, Kenneth is photographed in 1969, towards the end of his career. His year and place of birth (1914, Gerrard’s Cross) are quite well established, as is his father’s name (Charles Gilbert More, a real pilot), whilst Sir Thomas was known to have only one son, John. In solving this case, we should initially assume descent to be solely in the male line but, as with the photography pioneer Fox Talbot, a surname can be “smuggled” through a daughter. 

Fortunately, Martin Wood, who also counts Sir Thomas as an ancestor, has written about those who share his lineage up to 1829 when Catholic Emancipation occurred, whilst it should be possible to close the gap.

Further research has shown that a descent cannot be in the unbroken male line. Charles J. More, Kenneth’s grandfather was born in Poona (now Pune), India, four years after his parents married in Aberdeen. George More was part of the prominent Moir family of nearby Stoneywood, although the spelling evolved through the centuries. This was recorded by Andrew J. Mitchell Gill of Savock in 1885.
Sir Thomas cannot be of this line, thus any connection can only be through the female line at least once. That his mother was the daughter of a Cardiff solicitor may be useful. However, whilst none of the known backward mixed lines can be shown to connect with Sir Thomas’ descendants by other surnames, there are just enough gaps, particularly through his daughters, that we cannot disprove the relationship either. 

By super blue

Grandson of a Town player.

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