George Ridout, baker of West Mill, Sherborne

Christopher Ridout’s second son was George (1701-1779). When he grew up, George was by trade a baker and probably succeeded to his father’s business at West Mill. The mill had originally been built in the sixteenth century but was apparently re-built in about 1730, perhaps by Christopher or George?

George married his first wife, Mary Hallett, on 25th November 1725 at Milborne Port. The couple had several children including:

1. George baptised 24th November 1726 – a baker, like his father. Married Hester Trimnell but had no children.

2. Mary baptised 4th March 1726/7 – married John Hoddinott of Sherborne, an upholsterer.

3. John baptised 16th March 1729/30 – travelled to America in 1752 and became secretary to Horatio Sharpe, Governor of Maryland. He married Mary, a daughter of Governor Samuel Ogle.

4. Edith baptised in March 1733 and died the year of her birth.

5. Nicodemus baptised 12th July 1734 – married Betty Charmbury. One of their sons, George, went to Toronto and was, for a time justice of the peace. Nicodemus was a merchant and burgess who settled and died in Bristol.

6. Samuel baptised 24th September 1735 and died the year of his birth.

7. Edith baptised 22nd September 1737 – married Isaac Finch of London, a hatter.

8. Elizabeth baptised 29th November 1739 – married George Ward, silk throwster and had at least seven children including sons named John Sharrer Ward and George Ridout Ward.

Mary died on the 9th December 1751 and George married a second time on the 15th May 1753 at Long Burton to Mary Gibbs, a lady fifteen years his junior. The couple had two sons:

9. Thomas baptised 17th March 1754 – Went to America in 1774 and had several adventures, including being captured by a party of Shawnee, of which much is written. Moved on to Canada and became Surveyor General in Toronto and was elected to the Legislature in 1812. Married twice and had a great many children, some of whom became prominent in Canadian society.

10. John Gibbs baptised 24th June 1757 – stayed in London and became an eminent doctor. Married Elizabeth Holmes and had six children.

Here follows two letters of interest…

Over Stowey, 8th January 1888, from Susan Ward to her cousin Frances Ward of Longbridge Deverill near Warminster…

“I am quite certain that our grandmother Elizabeth Ward (neé Ridout) was whole sister to the Ridout who went out to America to be secretary to the Governor of Maryland. I used to hear my Father mention the name of the Governor but do not remember it and don’t know Mr Ridout’s Christian name; he went straight from college to America. The Governor of Maryland wrote to his friend the Head of the College asking him to send out a young man whom he could highly recommend. This must have occurred some years before the war of Independence which began 1775 and the Independence was declared 1782. Our Grandmother did not go out with him but went as a guest later on: I think she was with him some little time before she resolved to throw in her lot with him – she returned to England to take leave of her relations but the war breaking out she was obliged to alter her plans and our Grandfather (George Ward) becoming her suitor, she married and settled down in the old land. It is not likely Mr Ridout was less than 20 when he was sent after doing well at College and he must have been in America six years before the war: I believe his sister was with him three years. She used to be very proud of telling us how she danced a minuet in Washington’s House, Franklyn playing the musical glasses for the dancers. The Tom Ridout who wrote the long letter giving an account of his adventures in Canada in 1789 was half brother of our grandmother – so was Dr Ridout. Miss Mary Ridout was a far off cousin of his but considered herself more nearly connected with some Miss Ridouts who were living at Sherborne. Our grandmother died aged 86 – was living in 1825 probably 1826.”

From George Ridout Ward found by his daughter Frances and forwarded to a relative from Sandhurst on 10th July 1884…

“Christopher Ridout, miller of Sherborne and also farmer, lived at Ridout’s Mill and married a Miss Glover. They had three children John, George and Elizabeth. John went to America in consequence of a disappointment in love but it is supposed he married in America. Mr John Ridout (son of George), going to America some years afterwards lodged at a widow’s house in New York of the name Ridout and it was supposed by his father she must have been the widow of his son John. Her husband’s name was John and he told her that he came from a town in the west of England, but would not tell her the name. He came to England as master of a trading vessel but never visited his parents. He once sent for his brother to Bristol and saw him but declined to see his parents.

George married Mary Hallett daughter of Nicodemus Hallett of Milborne Port – he possessed a respectable leasehold property on which he lived. George and Mary Ridout lived at Ridout’s Mill, the said George Ridout succeeding to his father’s mill & property. George and Mary Ridout had eight children: George, Mary, John, Edith (died), Nicodemus, Edith, Samuel and Elizabeth. George died without issue and was a baker. Mary married J Hoddinott of Sherborne, upholsterer by whom she had three children: John & Mary who died and James who married and left one daughter. John went to America, secretary to Governor Sharpe of Maryland and married Miss Ogle the succeeding Governor’s daughter by whom he had three children: Samuel, Horatio and Anne. Samuel married a Miss Addison, descended from the writer of the Spectator and was a judge. Horatio lived on his own property. Anne married a Mr Gibson, a merchant. Nicodemus lived at Bristol, a maltster He married twice and had families. Edith married Mr Finch a draper in London and had a son who died and Elizabeth, a daughter who married Mr Scudamore. Elizabeth married George Ward, silk throwster of Sherborne, son of George Ward of Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire and they had children: John Sharrer Ward, Susannah Ward, George Ridout Ward, Elizabeth Ward who married Woollam, Mary Ward, who married Burges and Thomas Ward.”

So George Ridout Ward, son of Elizabeth Ridout and George Ward says that his grandparents and great grandparents lived at the mill. I wondered how that might be possible since the only mill I have ever seen was full of machinery and would have been totally unsuitable for human habitation! However, this matter was clarified yesterday. The curator of Sutton Poyntz Water Museum has apparently researched West Mill and I was lucky enough to receive some information about the fabric of the building through a third party. “It was built of local rubble stone, three floors high with a roof of stone slats and standing on sloping ground such that on the upstream side, the stone floor could be entered by a doorway nearly at ground level. There was a miller’s cottage joined to the right of the building, behind which was the bakery.”

So, coupled with George Ridout Ward’s letter, it seems feasible that George and his father Christopher (and maybe even son George as well) lived at West Mill. I know they were in possession at least by 1720, if not before. My next challenge is to find out whether or not the Ridouts re-built the mill in 1730 and when it was that they finally relinquished the business and moved elsewhere.

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