The Compton Abbas Rideouts: Thomas and who?

I’ve recently been examining incidences of the name Philip RIDEOUT amongst the S&DFHS collection of family trees. Having uncovered a nest of churchmen called Philip (see blog) I wondered if other so named men belonged to the same tree. The area in which several Philip Rideouts were to be found, and in roughly the same time period, is quite small and includes Compton Abbas, a village a couple of miles south of Shaftesbury.

Amongst the Somerset & Dorset FHS collection are trees which show an interesting line of individuals who historically changed their surname from Rideout to FISHER and back again a few times; Mr John CRADDOCK published articles on this phenomenon in the S&DFHS journal, The Greenwood Tree (Vol. 8 No. 3 p. 17).

The Compton Abbas family trees that I’m working on, gifted to the S&DFHS by Rideout family historians, including Mr Craddock, all show ancestor Thomas Rideout and his wife Elizabeth COOK of Cann who married in her home village on the 6th February 1753. The identity of Thomas’ parents, however, was inconsistent and so I thought I’d see what Ancestry online trees would show; it didn’t surprise me at all that the results were variable, to say the least. Here is a poll from 50 Rideout trees on Thomas’ data:

Baptism date: 17th October 1730 – 28 trees
Baptism date: ~1730 – 22 trees
Burial date: 16th July 1775 – 21 trees
Burial date: 25th June 1786 – 18 trees
Father’s name: Thomas Rideout – 32 trees
Father’s name: Thomas Mog Rideout – 18 trees
Mother’s name: Rose GATEHOUSE – 20 trees
Mother’s name: Rose or Rachell – 7 trees
Mother’s name: Susanna BURT – 5 trees
Parent’s names: Unknown – 11 trees

After checking images of the parish register I can say, with confidence, that there were no baptisms in Compton Abbas on the 17th October 1730, although on the following day a Thomas was indeed baptised to Thomas Rideout (I can’t say how the middle name ‘Mog’ came about as I’ve not seen this in any records). Pinning a dynasty onto someone who dies as a child is a common enough mistake; this example also provides a salutary lesson in not copying ‘facts’ without first checking their sources. Sadly, on the 2nd May 1734, probably the same little boy Thomas was buried…Thomas

Thomas and Rose RIDEOUT of Compton Abbas

 IMG_3293Thomas Rideout was a yeoman who lived in Twyford, historically a small settlement about one mile west of Compton Abbas; neither his birth year nor parentage are known for certain. Thomas was probably married to a lady called Rose, but there is NO evidence for her surname being Gatehouse! He wrote his will on the 10th January 1761:

“In the name of God Amen I Thomas Rideout of Tywford in the parish of Compton Abbas in the County of Dorset Yeoman considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound and perfect mind and memory blessed be Almighty God for the same do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following. I give and bequeath to my daughter Hannah Rideout five pounds a year to be paid out of two pieces of arable meadow or pasture land called Starvelings containing about six acres situate and being in Twyford aforesaid for and during her natural life by two even and equal payments the first payment to be made a half a year after my decease to be payd by my son Philip Rideout and if he shall neglect or refuse to pay the said annuity after fifteen days after the same shall become due and ought to be payd then and in such case she shall have full power to enter and take possession of the two closes till such arrears are fully paid. Nevertheless my will is that if my said daughter Hannah shall happen to marry without the consent of her brother Philip first had and obtained then and in such case my will is that he shall his executors administrators and assigns possess and enjoy the same said two pieces of land for his or their use and benefit as if no such annuity had ever been paid without the molestation or hinderance of my said daughter Hannah or her husband for and during my term in the said estate. Also I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary Hough five pounds a year during her natural life the first payment to become due twelve months after my decease. Item I give to my grandson Philip Hough the sum of twenty pounds when he shall attain the age of twenty one years. Item I give to my grandson Thomas Rideout the sum of twenty pounds when he shall attain the age of twenty one years. Item I give unto my son in law Mr John Hough and to my daughter Mary Hough the sum of five pounds to buy each of them a suit of mourning. Item I give and devise to my son Phillip Rideout and his heirs and assigns for ever all my freehold estate situate in Twyford aforesaid. And lastly as to all the residue and remainder of my real and personal estate goods and chattels of what kind or nature soever I will and bequeath the same to my said son Philip Rideout whom I make whole and sole executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all wills by me formerly made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this tenth day of January in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty one.” Signed Thomas Ridout. Codicil added 4th July 1775. Will proved 22nd July 1775 by Philip Rideout.

The most likely burial for Thomas, being between the 4th and 22nd of July, would be 16th July 1775 in Compton Abbas, as shown on the majority of the Ancestry Rideout trees. The will shows that Thomas and Rose had three surviving children in 1761 since only Mary, Philip and Hannah are mentioned. Hannah was an unmarried 38 year old in 1761 and died as a spinster in Compton Abbas in 1772 (bur. 9 Oct 1772).

Philip was a yeoman who inherited his father’s estate in Twyford; he married Rose FORD on the 17th Jan 1760 and they had a son Thomas (bap. Compton Abbas 19 May 1761) who was therefore a baby when mentioned in grandfather Thomas’ will. For whatever reason, Philip and Rose seemed not to have had further children and even Thomas probably did not survive since he is not mentioned in his father Philip’s will (dated 27th May 1792); maybe the burial in 1786 relates to this individual? Of course, that children are not mentioned in a will doesn’t necessarily mean that they’d died; sometimes they’d already received their inheritance but I think, in this case, that’s unlikely.

Thomas and Rose’s daughter Mary married John HOFFE on the 27th March 1758 in the bride’s home parish; John was a surgeon, a rather interesting profession in the mid 18th century! Philip Rideout left his entire estate to John:

“I give and bequeath unto my said nephew John Hoffe all that my leasehold estate situate in the parish of Compton Abbas aforesaid and called or known by then name of Lawrence’s with the appurtenances to hold unto my said nephew John Hoffe for and during all my estate term and interest therein subject and charged and chargeable with one annuity or clear yearly rent or sun of twenty pounds of lawful money of Great Britain which I do hereby give and bequeath unto my said wife Rose Ridout and her assigns for and during her life to be issuing and payable by my said nephew John Hoffe by four quarterly payments at or upon the four more usual days or times of payment in the years (that is to say the fifth day of January the fifth day of April the fifth day of July and the tenth of October the first payment thereof to be made on such of the said days as shall first or next happen after my decease. And as to all other my leasehold and copyhold estates and also all and singular my monies securities cattle stock implements of husbandry goods chattels and personal estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature or kind soever which I shall or may be possessed or entitled unto at the time of my decease subject to the payment of my just debts and funeral expenses I give and bequeath the same unto my said nephew John Hoffe his executors administrators and assigns and I do hereby make ordain constitute and appoint my said nephew John Hoff sole executor of this my last will and testament…”

This will provided one rather interesting clue: Philip leaves a leasehold estate named ‘Lawrence’s’ – which rang an instant bell…

In my last blog post I wrote about Philip Rideout of Tisbury (Wiltshire) who married Mary HAYTER. Since Mary had died in 1707, after having borne four children, I speculated briefly that Philip might have married again because I’d found three baptisms between 1711 and 1717, in Fontmell Magna, to a Philip Rideout and wife Ursula. I thought that after Mary’s death Philip might have moved with his children to Fontmell and started a second family. His youngest son Robert was to settle, marry, have children and die there so the idea that his father moved to Fontmell seemed feasible; I am still undecided. Regardless, Philip and Ursula Rideout had a daughter Martha (bap. 16 Feb 1714) who married John LAWRENCE in Fontmell on 19 Sep 1732. When Lawrence wrote his will, on the 5th November 1770, he appointed Thomas Rideout of Twyford his executor.

The National Archives helpfully provides the details of a property agreement:

Assignment: between James Lawrence of Fontmell Magna, Dorset, miller, Philip Lawrence of the same, fuller, James Swayne of Sturminster Newton, fuller, and Martha his wife, Samuel Lawrence of Fontmell, carpenter, Mary Lawrence of Fontmell, spinster, and Stephen Lawrence of Charmouth, miller, to Philip Ridout of Twyford, yeoman: land: Twyford, Dorset. Date: 1779.

So this agreement forms a chain of ownership, from Martha, James, Philip, Samuel, Mary and Stephen – all John and Martha Lawrence’s children, to Philip Rideout of Twyford and thence from him to Philip’s nephew John Hoffe. As if this wasn’t confusing enough, John Hoffe was married to Edith Rideout, daughter of William Rideout of Pegg’s Farm, Iwerne Minster and his wife Hannah (née WAREHAM). William and Hanna head a Rideout dynasty in Iwerne Courtney, marrying into local families by the names of APPLIN and MILES. No doubt Philip left his estate to John Hoffe because he was married to Edith Rideout… but what relationship was Edith to Philip? That question is yet to be answered.

Considering that this research began when I tried to sort out a Compton Abbas tree I ended up with much more than I bargained for! The property in Twyford seems to link three branches of Rideouts from Compton Abbas, Fontmell Magna and Iwerne Courtney:


To answer the original question though, I don’t believe that the Compton Rideouts descend from Thomas and Rose, which means looking elsewhere. Just one tree on Ancestry considered that Thomas, husband of Elizabeth Cook, was the son of Robert Rideout and his wife Rachel Gatehouse and, at this moment, I tend to agree…. to be continued.

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‘The Philips’: Tisbury, Fontmell Magna and Farnham RIDEOUTs

Recently I was invited by the committee of the Somerset & Dorset FHS to be their RID(E)OUT archivist with a view to curating a large collection of genealogical material, much of which was bequeathed to the Society by the late Bill Ridout of Berkhamsted.

It is well known that historically Ridout and Rideout families could be found in many of Dorset’s towns, villages and hamlets as well as in the bordering counties. If we suppose that there may only have been two or three ancestral Rid(e)out progenitors it might be possible, using traditional genealogical methods, yDNA study and a dose of sheer good luck, to coalesce some of the many twigs and branches into more substantial trees. Over the years, many Ridout researchers have donated their family histories and pedigrees to the S&DFHS Centre at Sherborne and so I decided to start a tree building project with these. Maybe you will recognise names and places; perhaps you can help?

As I started researching these trees I noticed the name Philip Ridout or Rideout cropped up more than once – in trees from Compton Abbas, Iwerne Courtney, Ashmore and Farnham; then I remembered that there was also a vicar of that name who was connected with Fontmell Magna. I marked some of the places associated with Philip Rid(e)outs on a map; they’re quite close together… could the various branches perhaps be of the same family? Maybe; here is the story of one of those families…

Several Philip Rideouts lived in N. Dorset.

Several Philip Rideouts lived in N. Dorset.

Musgrave’s Obituary referenced a report in the London Magazine for December 1743:

“-Rev. Mr Philip Rideout M.A. by whose Death the Rectory of Farnham and Vicarage of Iwerne cum Hanley in Dorsetshire, Hinton St Mary, Margaret Marsh and Gussage become void-”

I was quite persuaded that this report must true; the facts were repeated in a couple of newspapers, using the same wording. However, the details failed to tally with the very excellent Clergy of the Church of England Database (CCED) which shows that on the 20th May 1741 the Rector of Farnham, Rev Richard PASSINGHAM, was forced to vacate his rectory there as he was also Rector of Puncknowle and couldn’t hold both livings (Richard died in 1754, not 1743). The empty post in Farnham was filled, on the very same day, by Rev Philip Rideout and there he stayed for a good few years. Quite what had generated a false report of his death I do not know; I searched for burials throughout Dorset but couldn’t find one for a Philip Rid(e)out in 1743.

Rev. Philip Rideout I, as I call him to avoid confusion, was the son of Philip Rideout and his wife Mary (née HAYTER; mar. 25th May 1695 in Fisherton Anger, Tisbury, Wiltshire). The younger Philip was baptised in Tisbury on the 10th March 1696. Luckily, the details of his parent’s marriage were provided in a Sarum marriage licence bond, dated 25th May 1695 at Sutton Mandeville in Wiltshire. This handy document shows that Philip was a bachelor aged 30 and Mary was a 25 year old spinster, daughter of Augustine Hayter, Rector of Sutton Mandeville (from 1662-1709). Philip and Mary had other children baptised in Tisbury: Mary (bp. 18th March 1695), Robert (bp. 17th September 1701) and, I think, a son Thomas for whom I can trace no baptism.

Farnham Church (St Lawrence)

Farnham Church (St Lawrence)

Rev Philip’s ecclesiastical career can be traced from the CCED and from Joseph Foster’s Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886:

“Rideout, Philip, son of Philip, of Chickgrove, parish of Tisbury, Wilts. pleb. Hart Hall, matric. 4 Nov. 1713, aged 18; B.A. from Merton College. 1717, M.A. 1720, vicar of Ewerne 1722, and rector of Farnham, Dorset, 1741-63, father of Philip 1745).”

This entry shows that Philip Sr was not himself a cleric, as I had at first wondered, but a commoner (‘pleb’). Incidentally, the identification of Rev Philip I as being the father of the following incumbent, Rev. Philip Rideout II, is, as will become clear, incorrect.

When I started looking at this family I had to give myself a crash course in how the church worked with respect to the various positions within it. I didn’t know the difference between a curate, a deacon, a vicar, a rector; I didn’t know that a rectory and a vicarage related to the actual benefices rather than simply the buildings in which a vicar or rector lived! It was a steep learning curve. Some men, like Philip, were pluralists, meaning that they held a position in more than one parish (it depended on the parishes in question as to whether this was allowed) and most were university educated. Hence Philip studied at Oxford for four years, was ordained a deacon at St James’ Westminster on the 27th October 1717 and then continued his theological studies for a further three years before being ordained as a priest on the 4th June 1721. He was appointed vicar of Iwerne Minster on the 11th October 1722, a living which was recorded as void on the 30th December 1764. Philip was also the rector of Farnham until resigning his post on the 18th May 1763; he was buried in Iwerne Minster on the 1st August 1764.

Philip married Henrietta HUGHES from Sonning in Berkshire; fortunately another marriage bond, dated the 15th May 1727, was available online and this showed her bondsman to be the elegantly named Theophilus HUGHES, soon to become curate of Sonning; I suspect that Theophilus was Henrietta’s brother. A will, written by another villager in 1729, revealed a relationship: “Item I give to the Reverend Mr William Hughes Vicar of Sunning aforesaid five pounds desiring him to preach me a funeral sermon but if the said Mr William Hughes die before me I give to his son the Reverend Mr Theophilus Mountjoy Hughes the sum of five pounds and do desire him the said Theophilus to preach my Funeral sermon.” Yet another clerical connection with the Rideout family!

Will fragment

Will fragment

Sadly, Henrietta died after just three years of marriage and the couple, as far as I know, had no children; she was buried at Iwerne Minster on the 3rd June 1730. Her widower Philip left a will, written before 11th September 1764 (when it went to probate) but, frustratingly, only a fragment remains from which it is possible to make out a few lines. Philip leaves bequests to a niece with the surname HARVEY, daughter of Hannah, a niece Betty, daughter of Mary Rideout, a nephew Philip Rideout, sister Mary LAWRENCE, brother Philip Rideout and another brother Thomas and family, who he says is “in very good circumstances, much better than myself and my……..(missing)…….. children) which is the only reason I give him no legacy but if he will be pleased to accept my best suit of clothes I desire it may be delivered to him.” That last part is rather enigmatic; perhaps Philip did have children but I have found no evidence of it, or perhaps he was referring to his other siblings and their children.

As Rev Philip Rideout I had no son he couldn’t have been the father of the next incumbent, Rev Philip Rideout II, as the Clergy Database records suggest; in fact Philip II was definitely the son of Philip I’s younger brother Robert Rideout of Fontmell Magna (bp. 1701). Robert married a lady called Cicely (indexed as Cisily, Cicley and Cicily) whose surname is currently unknown as I’ve found no marriage. One of Robert’s children was baptised Hannah (bp. Feb 1734 at Fontmell Magna); she married George HARVEY in 1757 and had a daughter Anna in 1761 – this was likely to have been one of the two nieces (actually a grand niece) to which Philip I referred in his will.

Robert and Cicely’s son Philip (bp. 13 Sep 1728 at Fontmell Magna) followed much the same career path as his uncle before him; he went up to Oxford at the age of 17, in 1745, gained a BA in 1749; two years later he was ordained as a deacon at Christchurch in Oxford and was awarded a MA in 1752. On the 18th May 1763 he became rector of Farnham, on the same day that his uncle resigned.

Rev Philip Rideout II married Anna Susanna HINCKESMAN (sometimes HINXMAN) on the 23rd May 1775 at St Martin’s in Salisbury according to Dorset Notes & Queries (volume XIII p.132) although an online source quotes the year as 1771, which is more likely given the birth years of their first two children! In 1777 a wealthy patron, Lucy CLOTTERBOOK, left Philip her freehold lease of Hookwood Farm and also gave his then 5 year old daughter Anna Susanna an emerald ring. Philip and Anna Susanna had several children:

Anna Susanna RIDEOUT (1772-1843)
Richard Hinckesman RIDEOUT (b.1773, bur.1773)
Rev Philip RIDEOUT (III) of Farnham & Shapwick (1775-1834)
Rev Peter Richard RIDEOUT (b.1778, bur.1850)
Henry Francis RIDEOUT (bap.1780)
Mary Louisa RIDEOUT of Hartgrove (b.1783, bur.1844)
George RIDEOUT (1786-1812)
Robert RIDEOUT (1792-1816)

This is a part of Philip’s will, written in 1813:

“I give and bequeath and devise to my eldest son Phillip Ridout clerk, rector of Farnham in trust my leasehold estate called Hooks Wood in the parish of Farnham held under the Duke of Bolton subject to such incumbrances herein after mentioned that is a mortgage to Mister Shile of Knoyle for the sum of four hundred pounds and subject also to all my other debts which I trust he will pay off in the course of seven years after my decease and I likewise charge on the said estate an annuity of twenty pounds a year to be paid to my son Peter Ridout and to continue the same payment yearly until he is possessed of some advantageous living or legacy. I give and bequeath unto my son Henry Ridout all the corn and hay, livestock and husbandry utensils which I require to be continued on the farm and his brothers to pay him interest for it to make up to him for his assistance in the business or thirty pounds per annum in lieu of interest for the stock.

I give and devise my leasehold estate at Hartgrove in the parish of Fontmell Magna held under the right Hon Lord Arundell in trust to my executors, the rents and the profits thereof to be equally divided between my sons George and Robert and my daughters Anna Susanna and Mary Louisa Ridout.

I also give unto Henry Ridout my son twenty pounds a year to be paid by my executors out of my aforesaid estate at Hartgrove in the parish of Fontmell.
And it is my express will and desire that the Life or Lives that shall and may first happen to drop be replaced by a renewal of other lives in their stead from and out of the rents and profits deriving from my property agreeable to the will and desire of my son Henry in any or either of my leasehold estates but in case my sons Philip or Robert or either of them should be in such affluent circumstances and not in want of their share of the rents and profits of my property then and in that case their share of such rents shall be equally divided between my son Henry and my two daughters and at their disposal and not subject to the control of a husband in case either of them should be married and to their children after them shall be entitled to their mother’s share of the estates and interest therein to come and my daughters or either of them or the survivors of them and their estates to kept full stated for the express and purposes aforesaid at the expense of my executors.

I give and bequeath and device to my well beloved wife for and during her natural life the mils called Farrington Mills and the appurtenances thereto belonging. I also give to my beloved wife the house at Hooks Wood and furniture for the same with the appurtenances thereto belonging now occupied by Harry Feret so long as she continue and remain my widow and I do hereby nominate and appoint my dearly beloved wife executorex (sic) and my eldest son Phillip Ridout and my second son Peter Ridout executors in trust of this my last will and testament….”

From this will it can be seen that two more churchmen were produced in this family. Rev. Philip Rideout III (bp. 15 Aug 1775 at Farnham, Dorset) travelled the route of his forebears; he matriculated Exeter College, Oxford on the 2nd November 1793 at the age of 18 and gained a BA in 1797. He was appointed as the curate at Tollard Royal on the 29th March 1798 and was ordained the following year, becoming the third so named rector of Farnham on the day his uncle stepped down for him, the 16th November 1799. Philip was later instituted vicar of Shapwick, on the 15th October 1811.

Philip & Sarah's memorial

Philip & Sarah’s memorial at Farnham church

Philip married Sarah ROYALL on the 14th October 1805 at St George Hanover Square in London and the couple had the following children:

Richard Hinckesman RIDEOUT (bap.1806)
Anna Susanna RIDEOUT (bap.1808)
Emma Mary RIDEOUT (bap.1810, d.1825)
Amelia Sarah RIDEOUT (bap.1811)
Robert George RIDEOUT (1816-1816)
Arabella RIDEOUT ( – )

Robert’s second son, Rev Peter Richard Rideout (bp. 8 Feb 1778 Farnham, Dorset) gained his BA from Wadham College, Oxford in 1799 and MA in 1805; he became the perpetual curate of Motcombe (near Shatesbury) between 1808 and 1850. Peter married Margaret RADCLYFFE on the 3rd December 1805 and the couple had two children, Frances (b.1812) and George (b.1814).

Unknown arms on Philip & Sarah's memorial

Unknown arms on Philip & Sarah’s memorial

Robert and Cicely’s eldest two sons evidently grew up, had families and achieved their presumed ambitions of entering the church; their two younger sons were tragically less fortunate. Robert, born on the 4th April 1792 at Farnham, enlisted into the army joining the 15th Regiment of Foot (The Duke of York’s Own) as Ensign on the 9th February 1809. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 5th March 1812 and died in 1816. The cause of his death is not reported and I have not yet searched the regimental diaries to see what campaign, if any, he was involved with at that time.

Robert’s brother George was born on the 27th December 1786 at Farnham; he enlisted and served with the 43 Regiment of Foot and his brief story appears in an account of the Pensinsular War between Napoleon’s army and the combined forces of Spain, Britain and Portugal. The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol LXXXIII page 396 reports: “Death April 1813 Abroad Lately at Burgos aged 26 Lieut G Rideout son of Revd P Rideout of Hookswood. George was buried at Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, West Spain.” From ‘Medals and Campaigns of the 43rd Foot now 1st Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry by Maj. William J Freer writes the following account:

2nd Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812.

2nd Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812.

“On November the 12th (1812) the whole army assembled at Salamanca, and on the 14th moved towards Alba de Tormes, the enemy having crossed two leagues above that town, the Light Division acting as rear guard. Next morning, as the men were roasting acorns after a thoroughly wet night, an officer of the 43rd saw French cavalry stealing through the wood, and gave the alarm. Lord Wellington rode up to No. 1 Company of that regiment and said, “The enemy must not cross here. And well did the 43rd do their duty at the combat of the Huebra. They, however, suffered heavily, for Lieutenant Rideout was killed and Lieutenant Baillie wounded, in addition to some 30 rank and file killed or wounded. Lieutenant Rideout, who was much liked in the regiment, was buried beside General Crawford at Ciudad Rodrigo.” Also: “Mentioned in Despatches three times: Lieutenant George Ridout, 43rd Foot, wounded 15-19 November 1812. Died 23 November 1812” (Napoleonic Guide).

Here then is a relatively simple outline of some of the members of four generations of a Rideout family whose stories often cross reference each to the other; their tree is below (click to enlarge). In the next instalment I will add a layer of complexity inasmuch as I will toy with the idea that the very first Philip married not once but twice and had another son by his first wife Mary – Thomas – who may just represent the founder member of another large Rideout dynasty – that belonging to Compton Abbas.



With grateful thanks to Mr Barry Brock at S&DFHS for the three photographs relating to Farnham church.

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