Inspector Morse star Kevin Whately discovers his Hertfordshire roots

FAMILY ancestry TV hit Who Do You Think You Are? featured a Times Territory village last night (Monday). Many will identify Kevin Whately as a Geordie TV actor, better known perhaps as Sgt Robert Lewis from the ITV murder mystery dramas Inspector Morse an

FAMILY ancestry TV hit Who Do You Think You Are? featured a Times Territory village last night (Monday).

Many will identify Kevin Whately as a Geordie TV actor, better known perhaps as Sgt Robert Lewis from the ITV murder mystery dramas Inspector Morse and Lewis.

Those with longer memories will remember his role in comedy drama series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

But few would think his family backgrounds lie in Hertfordshire.


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However, Kevin discovered his father's ancestors were from Watton-at-Stone and were actually friends of Oliver Cromwell.

As the WHT exclusively revealed in March last year, the actor was spotted in the George and Dragon, having some grub.

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But he was not just there enjoying the food.

He was in fact on a mission at the St Andrew and St Mary Church, in Church Lane, unearthing 16th century registers that feature his family.

After ploughing through his father's family tree, which was already created showing a long-line of vicars, the 58-year-old discovered 400-year-old records of his distant ancestor Mary Thompson, who was descended from a Major Robert Thompson.

Robert and his brothers, who were christened there, turned out to be incredibly wealthy puritans and financiers of the infamous Cromwell.

Major Robert, who lived in the village, was in fact one of the first ambassadors of the British Empire, trading tobacco and sugar across the world.

The Rev Brian Fairbank told the WHT that filming for the show made for an "exciting and interesting" day.

"Kevin was a great guy and really as nice as he appears on the TV.

"It was certainly something out-of-the-norm for us."

He added: "The information he was after does not actually belong in the church, we had to get it from County Archives, which is the same for anyone searching for family information before 1920.

"But it was entertaining having the team here; they stayed for a while, filmed in the church and then went on for lunch."

On his journey Kevin also found out his theatrical routes came from his mother's side, with his grandmother being a celebrity singer between the two world wars.

You can still see Watton-at-Stone featured on the show online via www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer

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