An Investigation into Giles Ridout of Virginia and the London connection

Early history of the family of Giles Ridout (b~1666)

According to Arthur George Ridout (1852-1939), a genealogist whose work I often use as a basis for research, a chap called Giles Ridout was born in ~1600, in an unknown town in England.  This man has since been proposed as the primary ancestor for many people in the US and Canada who believe that Giles’ great grandson, also Giles, first stepped on American soil in 1729. Because I had observed some contradictory yDNA results with regard to this line I decided to look into the facts.

In 1646/47, a legal case in Chancery pitted Thomas MORRIS against William Bryne (alias Grove) in an argument about furniture purported to be the property of Elizabeth, widow of Giles Ridout (Morris vs Bryne, TNA: C 21/M6/9). Elizabeth’s father, Thomas Morris (or possibly second husband?) administered Gile’s estate during the minority of Giles and Elizabeth’s boys, Giles and William. Another Chancery case, Ridout vs Ridout, petition dated 12th October 1713, recorded a dispute between brothers Thomas and William Ridout who had sold a property to Giles Ridout many years beforehand (Rideout vs Rideout, TNA: C 11/746/16):

“one little cottage some years since Defendant (Thomas) being of age & Complainant (William) joining with him, sold with appurtenances in Henstridge for the lives of a number of years determinable on the death of Giles Ridout since deceased…”

From these cases, I have assumed that Giles and Elizabeth were married at some point (although I’ve not found any details) and had two sons, William and Giles; Arthur gave their birth years as 1627 and 1628 respectively, but with no details or a reference. Arthur wrote that Giles the father died before 1643, but all I know for certain is that Giles died before Thomas Morris brought his petition i.e. the 9th February 1646/47 and that his sons were then under 21. The second case suggests that possibly the same Giles was in some way connected with two warring brothers from a Henstridge Ridout line: William of Bowden & Yarlington (b. 1662) and Thomas of Whitchurch & Horsington (b. 1664). Perhaps Giles came from Henstridge too; unfortunately the earliest baptismal records (Bishop’s transcripts for Henstridge, mostly in Latin, only exist for the years 1605-1623, 1636-1640, 1662-1682 & 1702-1718 and hence these dates cannot be checked).

The history around the younger Giles (b. ~1628?) provides information about his family; assuming that he was the ‘Giles Ridout of Henstridge’ who wrote his will on the 2nd September 1705, he mentioned his wife Jane and her father, John PARHAM. Unfortunately, I could not find a marriage record for this couple, nor could I find evidence of their having had children. Giles was a linen weaver who, at some point later in his life, had become an innkeeper; there were at least two inns at Henstridge during that period – perhaps his was the wonderfully named ‘Duke of Marlborough on Horseback’ (Somerset & Dorset Notes & Queries; vol. 10. 1907 p. 300). In his will, Giles bequeathed his brother William land called ‘Long Elmes’ in Henstridge and mentioned William’s grandsons, yet another Giles and William, ‘now living in London.’ This interesting phrase indicated that two brothers, sons of an unnamed male Ridout were living in London by 1705.

Giles’ brother and recipient of Long Elmes, William (b. ~1627) married a lady called Virtue, daughter of Benjamin SANGAR (or SANGER); he had several children with her, all of whom were baptised in Henstridge:

Jonathan bn. 9th March 1663
Giles bp. 20th July 1666
William bp. 26th April 1671 (bur. 6th July 1672)
Maria bp. 31 October 1673
Robert bp. 15th June 1675 (possibly died the day he was born)
Robert bp. 13th October 1676
William bp. 18th March 1677/78
Dorothy bp. 24th April 1679

I haven’t found burials for (or indeed much evidence for the survival of) many of these children, except for Giles, but then many Somerset records have been lost or simply did not exist, for example the majority of early Somerset wills, which were destroyed in 1942 at Exeter during air raids.

William and Virtue were buried at St John the Baptist Church, Horsington, a village about three miles distant from Henstridge, on the 28th October 1713 and the 29th August 1717 respectively. Here is the family so far, summarised in tree form:


Giles Ridout, son of William and Virtue, baptised at St Nicholas’s church in the summer of 1666, became a dyer. This means, not surprisingly, a man who dyed cloth, be it linen, wool or silk. As his uncle Giles had been a linen weaver perhaps this choice of trade was natural as weavers and dyers tended to work together in order to produced coloured materials (although weavers from the country would also send their produce up to London for it to be dyed). Sometimes the art of dyeing would be learnt by an apprentice under a London master and then brought back home and passed on to successive generations; in this way, trade skills spread across the British Isles. It would be nice, if it were possible, to discover with whom Giles had learnt his craft; maybe, like countless others, his father sent the boy to London but I haven’t found any indentures so far.

Apprenticeship notwithstanding, at some point in his life Giles moved to London and married Mary DE YONGH in St James’ Church, Duke’s Place, Aldgate on the 14th January 1691/92. Despite its location this old church, built early in the 17th century, had survived the Great Fire of 1666. Because it was not under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London, St James attracted a huge number of couples wishing to marry in haste, ‘no questions asked’, but this doesn’t imply that Giles and Mary necessarily had a clandestine marriage; they probably just lived in the area. Giles was twenty-five years old when he married but the age of the bride isn’t recorded.

On the 29th October 1693 at St Mary, Stratford Bow, Giles and Mary’s daughter Hannah was baptised. The parish register entry reads: “Hannah the daughter of Gyles Rideout of Old fford, dyer, and of Mary his wife…” Old Ford was aptly named, being an area of housing situated next to the River Lea, a tributary of the Thames, about five miles north-east of the city centre. Since the process of dyeing involved considerable amounts of water it is not surprising that dyers’ usually lived and worked near a waterway. A son William was also baptised at St Mary’s on 20th October 1695 and the entry was similarly worded, showing that the family had not moved from the area.

On the 6th June 1698 a second son, Giles, was born to Giles and Mary and baptised just three days later. On the 27th November 1699 a third son was born and also baptised Giles on the 3rd December. This naming pattern usually, but not always, implies that the first named child died. Both boys were baptised at Christ Church, Southwark as was their little brother Ryiner, born and baptised on the 8th August 1701; such a quick baptism did not auger well for the boy’s survival, or perhaps he was the unnamed ‘son of Giles Ridout, dyer’, who was buried at Christ Church on the 11th May 1705. Southwark, a parish on the south side of the River Thames, was far less populated than the main city and not, in those days, so directly accessible (Southwark Bridge was not built until ~1818).

All three of these parish entries were similarly worded but the earliest revealed a small detail of Giles’ occupation: instead of simply ‘dyer’ he was described as a ‘scarlet dyer’. A particularly interesting thesis on the subject of the Dyer’s Company in London describes the many facets of the art and the fact that men accomplished in one particular skill would advertise the fact i.e. the addition of the word ‘scarlet’. Red materials were coloured with chemicals extracted from natural sources such as the flowering plant, Rose Madder (Rubia tinctorium) or the crushed bodies of scale insects (Kermes vermilio and Dactylopius coccus); the dyes were ‘fixed’ at variable times in the process with mordants such as alum, or even urine. For those who are interested, the subject is covered fully by: Roger A Feldman in his work ‘Recruitment, training and knowledge transfer in the London Dyers’ Company, 1649-1826’ 2005 PhD thesis for the London School of Economics and Political Science.

On the 2nd April 1697, Giles and Mary’s daughter Hannah was buried at St Giles’ Church, Cripplegate, back across the River; the entry recorded that she had died, aged 4 years, of fever. These vital records give a rough time line of the family’s movements over a decade or so. I have plotted on the churches on a 19th century map below (click to enlarge):


On the same page recording the burial of a ‘son of Giles Ridout’ in the year 1705 at Christ Church, Southwark, is Giles the father who was buried on the 25th May. The administration of his estate was granted to Mary his wife on the 24th July of that year. No cause of death was given; he was thirty-nine. With what seems quite an indecent haste, but was probably just a pragmatic move to protect her children, Mary married again on the 23rd December to Henry HONNOR (als HONNER or HONOUR) a dyer, at St Benet’s Church, Paul’s Wharf, just south of St Paul’s Cathedral. This beautifully preserved church, built in the late 18th Century, is of Welsh Anglican denomination but I don’t know the significance of this to the bride or groom. Things were now going to get complicated from the research point of view!

Henry Honnor was the son of Henry and Maria (née PICKERING). Young Henry was apprenticed to his father (from the 12th November 1690), who was a Citizen and Saddler, although the son was later recorded as a dyer. Membership of a London guild could be achieved in one of three ways: by completing a seven year apprenticeship, by patrimony (if the applicant’s father was a member of that company) or by redemption (paying a fee). Despite joining by one of these routes, members didn’t always practice the guild’s trade as, owing to the ‘Custom of London’, members of London guilds could practise any trade they wished in the City. For some reason, amongst the characters in this story, there seems to have been a close association between saddlers and dyers.

Henry and Giles’ widow, Mary, had three sons, one of whom was named Young George (b.~1713) who, when he grew up, was business partner to Henry GRAHAM, a saddler (a fact revealed by Graham’s will, dated 20th February 1761). This connection tied the families together rather neatly because both Adrianus Honnor (another of Giles and Mary’s sons) and Henry Graham were apprenticed to Henry Honnor, Adrianus’ father, as saddlers. Interestingly, although Young George was a scarlet dyer by trade his association with the Saddler’s Guild was to be of great significance. When he wrote his will, on the 18th November 1769, Young George bequeathed to the Saddler’s Company the residue of his estate, amounting to £2,828-10s-5d, to be used for a specific charitable purpose. For some reason this money was not utilised but, having been invested, by 1855 had increased to £17,995-4s-4d! The Company managed to secure a portion of this fund to build an Almshouse which opened in 1860 in Isleworth and became known as Honnor’s Home.


Giles Ridout the scarlet dyer and William Ridout the mariner

 William (b. 1695) and Giles (b. 1699), the children of Giles and Mary (née De Yongh) survived to adulthood and were the boys mentioned by their great uncle Giles, back in Henstridge in 1705.

William became a mariner, a dangerous occupation for those who sailed ‘the seven seas’, which is evidenced by the huge number of sailor’s wills from that time; they are usually short and to the point and William’s was no exception. He wrote his last will and testament on the 1st May 1719 and opened with the words: “… William Ridout of the parish of St John at Wapping in the County of Middlesex, Marriner, now bound on a voyage unto forreigne parts and not knowing how it may please God to deale with me being at present of sound Mind and Memory but considering the uncertainty of this present transitory Life doe make and declare…” He mentioned his “good friend and Father-in-Law, Henry Honour of Southwark, dyer” and left him £100 with everything else to his wife. Arthur Ridout recorded that William married Elizabeth Honnor, daughter of Henry Honnor, but quoted no sources; Arthur did not ascribe children to this couple. William had asked to be buried on land or at sea, according to where he had met his end; wherever that had occurred the will was proved, on the 14th February 1722 which means that William’s wife (and executrix) knew that he had died, not disappeared without trace. I have not found a burial for William or a marriage for the couple.

So, to recap, Giles Ridout (b.~1666) died in Southwark as a relatively young man in 1705; his widow Mary married again and had children with Henry Honnor; of course, she brought her own children to the marriage, William (b.1695) and Giles (b.1699), the two boys mentioned by their great uncle, Giles of Henstridge. Mary’s husband Henry wrote his will on the 27th October 1731 and bequeathed £30 to Elizabeth Ridout plus £10 each to Giles and Hannah, without naming any relationship to them. The will was probated on the 27th May 1735.

Giles Ridout (bn. 27th November 1699) married Hannah NEAL on the 1st July 1717 at the Fleet Prison, London. An entry into a register of clandestine marriages (RG7/42) records: “Giles Ridout of Christchurch parish, scarlet dyer and Hannah Neal of St Mary Overie (Southwark) bachelor and spinster”. In a second entry (RG7/23) of the same date: “Giles Ridout of St George’s Surrey, scarlet dyer, and Hannah Neal of St Olave’s, Southwark spinster”. An irregular or clandestine marriage was a marriage conducted by an ordained clergyman, but without banns or licence. Although these marriages breached canon law, these were legally valid by Common Law. The ceremony was usually performed outside the home parishes of the bride and groom, often in prison chapels, though they were not necessarily disreputable. The Prison was situated in Farringdon Street which is on the north side of the River Thames and a considerable distance from where either of the parties lived. Giles was only seventeen years old when he married and Hannah may have been equally young.

Arthur Ridout as well as most people that record this family tree on public websites have ‘spotted’ Maria, ‘daughter of Giles and Hannah Ridout,’ baptised on the 7th December 1718 at St James’ Church, Clerkenwell, not very far away from the Fleet Prison. Strangely though, a little lad has been overlooked… Giles Ridout was baptised on the 11th December 1720: ‘son of Giles Rideout dyer by his wife Hannah, born 19th November.’

The youngest member of the family, Giles married a lady named Sarah but I only know this from the baptisms of their children, although there is an appropriate marriage at the Fleet Prison on the 7th May 1742 but there are no surnames, just ‘Giles and Sarah.’ The following are the recorded births/baptisms/burials for their children:

  • Martha Maria: born and baptised 22nd May 1744 at St Luke’s church, Finsbury; married Charles EADY in 1766
  • John: baptised 13th April 1745 at St Luke’s church, Finsbury, buried at same on the 9th April 1766: ‘a man, smallpox’
  • Mary: born ~1748; witnessed her sister Martha Maria’s wedding
  • Ann: born 24th February 1751 at Christopher’s Alley, Moorfields; baptised on the 10th March 1750 at St Leonard’s church, Shoreditch; buried on the 6th October 1744 at St Luke’s church, Finsbury: ‘a woman, consumption.’
  • Sarah: born 26th June 1753 at Christopher’s Alley, Moorfields; baptised on the 10th July 1753 at St Leonard’s church, Shoreditch; buried on the 22nd September 1768 at St Luke’s church, Finsbury: ‘a youth, smallpox.’

Frustratingly, none of the parish register entries revealed Giles’ occupation but I couldn’t complain at being given the other details. Clearly the area in which the family lived was rife with disease at that time and Giles the father was unfortunately no exception. His own burial was also recorded in the registers of St Luke’s, on the 2nd January 1763: ‘a man, smallpox.’ I don’t know what happened to Giles’ wife; maybe she re-married but I know too little about her to be able to confirm this; maybe she too died.

Although he died young, Giles left some important traces of his life. I found two entries for a London Tax:

1756: ‘Black Raven Court (Cripplegate without). No. 8. Real estate Giles Ridout £1 12s. 2 entries.’ John Strype’s survey of says: ‘Black Raven Court, pretty handsome, but small.’ The court was situated, east out of Golden Lane, just before the junction with Barbican. It was re-named Brittain Court and is about 0.3miles from St Luke’s Church Finsbury

1757: ‘Near the Hartshorn Inn at Farringdon Wharf, Smithfield precinct. Spye Corner. Giles Ridout. Real estate £3 12s.’

The Hartshorn Inn was situated on the site of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, 0.8miles from St Luke’s church Finsbury and 0.4m from the previous address.

I was fortunate enough to come across one vital piece of information: that this Giles was the son of the Giles Ridout born in 1699; the document in question was an apprenticeship indenture, filed amongst the papers required for ‘evidence’ of entitlement for Admission to the Freedom of the City of London. The handwritten portion of the indenture states:

Giles 1736“Giles Ridout, son of Giles Ridout, late of the Parish of Christchurch in the County of Surrey, scarlet dyer doth put himself apprentice to Henry Graham, Citizen and Sadler of London….” The indenture signed by Giles (the apprentice) was dated the 2nd September 9 Geo II (1736). In this context, the phrase ‘late of’ can be taken to mean ‘lately, but not now’ or perhaps ‘last known address’; it doesn’t mean ‘deceased’! Note also that the master is, again, Henry Graham, saddler!

Giles Rideout the Virginian

I can’t claim to know much about this man’s history in Virginia, other than that which I have been told. Giles Ridout, or Rideout was a sailor aboard HM Ship the ‘Ludlow Castle’ when it docked at Virginia on Sunday the 27th March 1729, having left The Downs, now called Deal, on the East Kent coast on the 15th October 1728. The ship had been commissioned for ‘secret service’, whatever that implied.

According to what I have been told (I have no access to US records) Giles married a lady called Frances in 1730 and they had the following children: ‘In York County Parish Records: Mary Ridout daughter of Giles and Frances born 20th May 1732, baptised 18th June; William born on the 10th July 10, baptised 31st August 1740; Giles Ridout born on the 8th February, baptised March 13th and died September 1744.

Giles “Probably owned land in York County, Virginia by 1740, and at Smokey Ordinary, Brunswick County, Virginia, where he, Giles, died before 1752, leaving descendants. Giles & Frances moved with their family to Dinwiddie in about 1745, about the time of John’s birth. Giles and his wife died in Prince George County and their children, still minors, were taken by the Prince George Co Court to raise.”

According to an article by Norman J Flythe: “In Brunswick county Virginia Order Book IV page 434 ‘upon the petition of Anthony Haynes, Frederick Jones and John Eppes, securities for the administration of the estate of Giles Rideout by Frances his widow and Relict, who hath since intermarried with Joseph Kennon, for counter security, It is ordered that the said Joseph Kennon and Frances his wife be summoned to appear at the next court to give such security and deliver up the estate of the said decedent to them for their indemnity.’ This was at February Court in 1753 (copy of this can be obtained from clerk of Brunswick Court at Lawrenceville, Va.).

There are a lot of other pieces of information about the life of Giles and Frances and those children that survive but I cannot reproduce them because, to be honest, they don’t make a lot of sense to me out of context and I have little understanding of US records and their significance. However, I think that those Ridout/Rideout researchers, who believe themselves to descend from the sailor Giles Ridout/Rideout, also think that he was probably, or possibly, the same Giles Ridout who was born in 1699 in Southwark, London. However, I do not agree, and can offer two pieces of evidence, repeated from the above text. Firstly, Giles’ son Giles (b. 1720) named his father’s recent parish and trade on a document in 1736, at which point, if the US theory was correct, Giles the elder would have been missing for at least seven years and would have left England when his son was just eight years old. More compelling however is that Henry Honnor, who left a will written on the 27th October 1731, bequeathed a sum of money to Giles and Hannah – in other words, his stepson and wife; this obviously means that at least on that date, the couple were still married and were known to Henry and, presumably, Henry’s executor Young George Honnor. Giles’ brother William the mariner named Henry Honnor in his will, calling him ‘father-in-law’ – this phrase led Arthur Ridout to erroneously assume that William had married Elizabeth Honnor but in the 18th century, the term ‘father-in-law’ didn’t mean the wife’s father, it meant ‘stepfather’. William acknowledged Henry, his mother’s second husband, and in turn Henry acknowledged his stepsons William (or at least William’s widow Elizabeth) and Giles (and his wife Hannah).

I don’t believe that Giles left England and sailed to Virginia; I don’t think he abandoned his wife and children; I think he stayed with Hannah but left the Southwark area… where they went I do not know but, if I ever find out I will post the information here. So, who was Giles the sailor?

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Rev. George Ridout (1820-1908)

George was born on the 23rd January 1820 at Newland, Gloucestershire and died 25th October 1908 at Eastbourne.  His parents were George Ridout (1788-1813) & Mary Ann Dowell and grandfather was John Gibbs Ridout (1757-1823).

He attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge and was curate of St. George’s, Bloomsbury 1843/9, perpetual curate at Ash, Kent between 1849 – 57 and rector at Sandhurst, Kent from 1857 to 1908. He married Sophia Louisa, daughter of Thomas Daniell Esq of Little Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, at St George’s, Bloomsbury on the 22nd May 1848.

Are you related to George? If you are, you may be interested to know that a book of his is up for sale on a popular auction site:

$_57 (1) $_57 (2) $_57 (3) $_57

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