Christopher Ridout, miller and yeoman of Sherborne, son of John and Elizabeth Ridout (neé Oliver), was undoubtedly a descendant of William Ridout of Hyle but in decades of research by different individuals, it has been difficult to determine the exact lineage between William and Christopher. Genealogy often involves building up a hypothesis and then trying to shoot it down in flames – if the theory cannot be disproved then it stands, with provisos. This is my theory.
When William Ridout of Hyle died in 1621, two sons survived him: Thomas1 who was baptised on 12th April 1574 and William1 who was baptised on the 11th May 1577, both in Sherborne Abbey.
Thomas1 married twice. By his first wife, Edith Oldish, he had five children – one of them was Thomas2 (bp. 10th October 1601) and another William2 (bp. 28th November 1599). William1 also married twice. By his first wife, Margaret Pope, he had four children – one of them was William3 (bp. 13th December 1602). So, there were two boys, first cousins, named William. On the 3rd February 1622/3 in Sherborne Abbey, the Williams married two sisters in a double wedding. Thomas1’s son William2 married Julyan Toogood and William1’s son, William3, married Ann Toogood! These unions cemented relations between the two families, which was probably very useful in terms of land and property, but a nightmare when it came to sorting out 17th century baptisms! Sisters Julyan and Ann were daughters of William Toogood and his wife Joan (neé Cuff). Joan left a will in 1629 as did another daughter of hers, Magdalen. These and other documents helped me to slot the various Ridout families together, but it was a complex business.
In his appraisal of this family conundrum, genealogist Arthur George Ridout made a vital mistake. He had failed to observe proof that Ann Toogood’s husband William3 had died as a young man in July 1630 and that Ann had re-married, to Robert Parfitt, on the 3rd May 1635. Arthur incorrectly ascribed lots of children to William3 which, over the years, probably diverted other family historians from the true picture, including me. Whilst it is certain that a daughter Ann was born (bp. 20th June 1624) to this couple, other children baptised in Sherborne to ‘William Ridout’ including Thomas (bp. 1st January 1623/4), William (bp. 8th April 1627) Julian (bp. 26th Jul 1628) and Margaret (bp. 9th February 1629/30) could have belonged to either of the Williams!
As soon as I found William3‘s death in 1631, it became clear that he wasn’t Christopher Ridout’s grandfather as I had previously thought because the only John baptised ‘son of William’ was in 1634! Christopher’s father John was, from various manorial records, apparently born in about 1632 and the only baptism that fits the bill in Sherborne was on the 24thFebruary 1631, ‘John, son of Thomas’. Although it cannot be proved conclusively, this was probably Thomas2 and his wife Eleanor. Hence Christopher was a great great grandson of William Ridout of Hyle.
So, to all Ridouts on the other side of the Atlantic, I believe that this is our lineage. I welcome any and all challenges to my hypothesis. I should perhaps mention that I myself do not descend from Christopher but, to my best belief, my family descends from Christopher’s brother John, about whom I know very little. He is the focus for my future research, aided soon I hope by yDNA linkage from Ridouts ‘over the water’.
Documents consulted – there are many but they include:
- Sherborne manorial surveys, estates, contracts & leases (1677, 1709, 1712, 1716, 1720, 1726 and 1735).
- Wills from the Peculiar Court of the Dean of Sarum:
Christopher Oliver (26th October 1687, probate 17th May 1687)
Joanna Toogood (19th October 1629, probate: 16th June 1630)
John Ridout (19th September 1678, probate 13th December 1678)
John Ridout (15th February 1671/2, probate 18th May 1672)
Magdalen Toogood (9th January 1637, probate 6th May 1638)
William Ridout (admon 12th January 1630/1)
William Ridout (10th May 1682, proved 2nd May 1683)
William Ridout (24th December 1687, probate 6th May 1690)
William Toogood (1st January 1679, proved 8th March 1683)
- Wills from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury:
Thomas Ridout (memorandum 13th May 1668, probate 5th December 1668)
Walter Ridout (11th March 1653, probate 22nd May 1654)
- Chancery proceedings (Court of Requests) numerous. Sherborne Manor Courts Leet & Baron (various).