There's no place like home, says 'son of Cheddar Man'
Sunday 09 March 1997
Until yesterday, the Somerset village of Cheddar was best known for its cheese and its gorge. Now, it is famous across the world for the Targetts, a tribe who may not be adventurous but are certainly constant.
Adrian, a history teacher, has had his DNA matched to that of Cheddar Man, a 9,000-year-old skeleton found in a cave in the gorge, proving that generation after generation of his family have lived in the same area.
Adrian Targett is not the only member of his family to have stuck, limpet- like, to the rocky Cheddar gorge and its environs. The man at the centre of one of the most astonishing DNA discoveries has an extended family of 46 and most of them remain in Somerset.
Scientists say the genetic fingerprint he shares with Cheddar Man would have been transmitted from mother to child. Adrian Targett, 42, is an only child and has no sons or daughters. But his maternal grandparents were fertile: they had 13 children, 11 of whom are still alive, including Mr Targett's mother, Hilda, nee Gibbings.
Mr Targett himself is unsure why he and his relatives chose to remain in the Somerset and Bristol area. His father's family is also large. He had eight brothers and sisters, and they had 10 children between them. Again, few have moved away.
"We've always been a tight-knit family. If there had been any necessity to move away for work, then maybe they would have moved. But it's very pleasant living here," he said.
Mr Targett was born in Bristol and only left the West Country to go to university in Swansea. After teacher training in Bath, he returned to the family's home territory and became a history teacher at Cheddar's King of Wessex Upper School in 1981, where he has remained.
"Cheddar is not too big," he says. "It's friendly, it's close to where I work. The school is very nice, because the people near here are very nice. With Somerset, there is a sense of being proud of the county. I was glad to see the back of Avon."
Mr Targett's family is not unique: the local studies library run by Somerset County Council says there is a tradition of people staying put in rural parts of the county. Common Somerset names like Webb, Crossman and Hippsley can be read in the local military rolls from the time of the attack by the Spanish Armada, and the history teacher says at least half-a-dozen families have been in the village for more than 200 years.
The manager of the Cheddar Show Caves museum, Bob Smart, said: "We have always thought that there was a link between these early cave-dwellers and ourselves."
Newcastle manager taunted again as his side loses to Stoke
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before a character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin wedding: The famous congratulate actor and human rights lawyer after Venice nuptials
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£40 per day + Travel Scheme : Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: Our client ...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...