In the last blog I wrote about Thomas Ridout (1682-1760) son of Thomas and Margaret of North Wootton. The Victorian genealogist Arthur Ridout recorded that the younger Thomas was baptised in 1694 and was the son of Thomas and Margaret of Sherborne and that the older Thomas was the son of John and Alice Ridout, born in Sherborne in 1666 and dying in 1694 in North Wootton. I don’t agree with Arthur on either count because, first of all, John and Alice’s son Thomas was, I believe, born in 1667 in Sherborne but was a cordwainer who married, had a family and died in London (see: Thomas Ridout of London). Secondly, I think this Ridout family, for reasons given below, lived exclusively in North Wootton and had done so for generations. My theory is that Thomas Ridout of North Wootton was the son of a Richard and Jane – but Richard’s lineage is hard to pin down, not least of all because at one point there were two Richard Ridouts living at the same time who were possibly the same age!
The puzzle of the two Richards
William Ridowte of Hyle (1553-1620)’s son, Thomas Ridout of North Wootton (bp. 1574) and his second wife Edith PALMER baptised one son Richard on the 24th September 1618 and another on the 19th November 1620. Seeing two children of the same name usually (but not always) implies that the first died before the baptism of the second; I looked for the burial of an infant Richard between 1618 and 1620 in North Wootton or Sherborne (often the villagers were buried in the larger nearby town) but I failed to find anything. Nonetheless, the second Richard evidently survived at least thirty-four years as here is a small extract from the 1654 will of Walter Ridout, another son of Thomas Ridout:
“Item I give unto Edith Ridout the daughter of Richard my brother of Alweston [parish of Folke] four pounds… Item I give unto Thomas Ridout the son of Richard Ridout of North Wootton that pte of wood which is between my brother and I at Lillington”.
The wording indicates that ‘Richard of Folke’ was Walter’s brother but unfortunately the relationship between Walter and Richard of North Wootton, friend or family, was not elaborated. Lillington is a small village about five miles south of Sherborne, but nearer to North Wootton.
William Ridowte of Hyle made a bequest to his son Thomas’s son Richard in his will of 1620, written soon after the boy was born presumably, but he did not mention a second Richard. Arthur Ridout considered that Richard Ridout of Folke and Richard Ridout of North Wootton were one and the same man but I am sure that this is not true. Here follows an explanation…
Richard Ridout of Folke
According to early records, Richard Ridout of Folke married Agnes KAINES; their first child, Edith, named by Walter in 1654, was baptised in Folke on the 18th April 1641. The couple had several children over the next few years, the last being Richard (bp. 17th July 1654). Richard Sr was mentioned a few times in manorial records, for example in the Protestation Returns of 1641 (in which a Richard Ridout of North Wootton was also listed), also in Chancery Proceedings, in the case of Bunter vs Downe dated the 11th April 1659, in which Richard was described as a 38 year old yeoman, and in a Court Leet in which Richard was listed as a tythingman (a spokesperson for the villagers of Folke).
Richard died and was buried in Folke churchyard on the 6th September 1669. He left a will, the probate of which was granted in 1678 under the authority of the Dean of Sarum (a copy of the document is available in the Wiltshire archives). A yeoman, Richard appointed his wife ‘Agneta’ as his sole executrix and bequeathed his daughters Joan, Edith (CLARK), Constance, Hannah, Mary, Margaret, Jane, Elner and son Richard 1/- each. The remainder of his estate was left to Agnes; William Fauntleroy was named as overseer and witnessed the will along with Joan Ridout.
Agnes Ridout died and was buried in Folke on the 13th October 1689. In her will, dated 24th November 1686 and proved in 1690, she also mentioned her children: Margaret (who received a bed & an old chest), Mary WEST (a hat & 1/-), Edith Clarke, Joan COLLIER, Constance FEANER, Hannah NEWMAN & son Richard, who were given 1/- each. Agnes nominated her daughters Jane & Ellinor to be her executors and her ‘loving friends’ John Hammond & Richard Bedelcombe to be overseers. The witnesses to the will were John & Mary Hammond. So, as far as can be ascertained, Richard Ridout and Agnes Kaines married, had children, lived, died and were buried – in the village of Folke.
Richard Ridout of North Wootton
Three miles away in the village of North Wootton, another Richard Ridout also appeared in manorial records, for example, in the Chancery Proceedings (Dorset Suits No 138/8, Oke v Oke) dated the 29th December 1657 in which it was said that he was a 36 year old husbandman. This Richard Ridout died on the 13th March 1661 and was buried six days later in Sherborne, but he was recorded as being ‘of North Wootton’; he died intestate but a document dated the 14th December 1662 shows that the joint administrators of his estate were widow Jeane (als Jane) Ridout, John Brett and Thomas Ridout.
So, Richard Ridout of North Wootton was married to Jane and was born, according to Chancery records, in ~1621 – the same time as Richard Ridout of Folke, but I know that this is a different man; Richard Ridout of North Wootton died in 1661, not 1669. The document regarding administration of the latter’s estate includes an inventory which was compiled by John Brett senior and junior and a Thomas Ridout of North Wootten on the 4th July 1662:
£ s d His wearing apparel 03 00 00 five oxen 24 00 00 brown bull and heifers 15 00 00 five yearlings 05 00 00 two horses 05 00 00 five ewes and lambes and four other sheepe 03 02 00 one pigge 00 10 00 eleven hens and one cocke 00 05 00 twelve bushells of wheate and … 18 00 00 twenty bushells of dates 02 00 00 three bushells of pease 00 12 00 two sides of bacon 01 00 00 for corn that was not threshed 01 13 04 for three brasse potts 00 15 00 three brass pans, three kittles, and two skillets 02 00 00 14 pewter dishes, one candlestick and one salte 01 00 00 two featherbeds and two down beds 01 15 00 4 bedsteads and the cloathes belongin to fower beds 02 04 00 two table boards and 6 joynt stooles 01 00 00 four barrels 00 08 00 fower trendles and … other timber vessels 00 13 04 two cubardes and two iron … 00 06 00 two table clothes and sixe napkins 00 06 00 two yoakes and one chain … (illegible) 05 00 00 (illegible) 00 13 00 for lumber 00 05 00 Signed by John Brett, John Brett and Thomas Ridout (who made his mark ‘R’)
The 1677 Sherborne Manor Survey shows in the homage of North Wootton a copyholder Jane Ridout, a widow aged 63 years (b. ~1614) and her sons Thomas (aged 23, b. ~1654) and John (aged 21 years, b. ~1656). The property in question was a ‘tenement with the appurtenances’; the acreage comprised 24 acres of pasture land, 13 of arable and 6 of meadow (total 43 acres) plus a yard. The annual rent was 10s 9d, with a yearly value of £15 and two capons at Easter. I searched for the baptisms of the two men mentioned in the 1677 survey, Jane’s sons Thomas and John. One possible baptism was that of John, on the 8th April 1655 in Sherborne to Richard Ridout.
In the 1709 Manor Survey of Sherborne, in the homage of North Wootton, is shown a copyhold tenement with appurtenances and a yard plus 24 acres of pasture, 6¼ of meadow and 13 of arable land (43¼ acres) with an annual rent of 10s 9d and two capons at Easter. Clearly, this is identical to the tenement described in 1677. The ‘lives’ are Thomas Ridout (55, b. ~1654), John Ridout his brother (53, b. ~1656) and ‘John Ridout his grandson’. The years of birth for the two men are identical to those in 1677 and hence these two ‘lives’ remained unchanged for over thirty years but, in the interim, Thomas had become not just a father but a grandfather, indicating that one of his children had a son John – the wording does not make it clear who was the boy’s father.
In 1717, according to the Sherborne Rentals, Thomas Ridout agreed to ‘add one life in reversion of two other lives’ for a leasehold tenement in North Wootton and in 1725, ‘Thomas Ridout Senior agreed to add the life of John Ridout, nephew of the said Thomas in reversion of him, the said Thomas and John his brother’ for a fine (fee) of £30 on his copyhold tenement’. At this point, Thomas would have been seventy-one and his brother John two years younger. The ‘nephew John’ implies that Thomas’s brother John (or indeed another brother if there was one) had married and had a son John before 1725.
I found burials in the Sherborne registers for both Thomas and his wife Margaret, but not John. Thomas was buried on the 28th June 1727 ‘of North Wootton’ and Margaret two years later on the 22nd May 1729, also in Sherborne ‘widow of North Wootton’. Interestingly, there is an entry in the North Wootton registers showing that a (?this) Thomas Ridout was the churchwarden in 1682 and maybe it was he that corrected the earlier parish register entries relating to Thomas Ridout (b. 1574) by adding Thomas’s wife’s name ‘Edith’ retrospectively:
In 1735, Thomas Ridout ‘agreed to purchase by Copy of Court Roll, the Life of James Ridout his son in reversion of John Ridout his Uncle (now aged seventy-nine or possibly recently deceased) and John Ridout another son of the said Thomas Ridout’ for £35. Finally, in 1756 Thomas ‘added a life and exchanged one’ but with no details of individuals. Further alterations to the same copyhold lease of North Wootton were made through the years by ‘Mr John Ridout’ and, in 1735, it was held by ‘He, Jno Ridout son of Thos and Saml Ridout, two sons of Thos Ridout.’ Once more the land comprised 43¼ acres with annual value of £15 and rent of 10s 9d and two capons at Easter. Thomas Ridout held two leasehold tenancies in North Wootton and one of the lives was ‘Susannah, his wife’.
From these surveys and from parish records, where available, it was possible to construct a tree:
It can be seen, from the tree that this is the family to which I referred in the last blog, ‘The Ridouts of North Wootton’ but that these manor records reveal three new individuals: John (b. ~1656) Thomas’s brother, an unidentified son of Thomas & Margaret and Samuel, a son of Thomas Ridout and Susannah Porter.
Tracing the North Wootton copyhold forward in time was intriguing but I also wondered how far back this property had been occupied by Ridouts. In the 1614 Manor Survey, in North Wootton, a copyhold tenancy is described:
“Thomas Ridowte holdeth bt Copie bearinge date the xj th daye of Aprill in the xxxix yeare of [our] late Quene Elizabeth by the grante of Sir Walter Ralegh, one tenemente & a yardelande conteininge a dwelling a barne orcharde garden & backside & a Close of pasture adjoininge conteininge iij acres, ij acres of meadow being in the moore, Close of pasture called Brailande conteining xij acres, j close of pasture called Quyntine conteining j acre & half, one close of pasture lande called Strowde conteining vij acres And in the common field in Parkfield iij acres In the Eastfield iij acres & half And in the southfield vj acres all arable lande, w[i]th comon for xvj beaste && xl sheepe in the comon field Rente”
Translated, Thomas Ridout held a copyright tenancy, dated 15th April 1596 by a grant of Sir Walter Raleigh. The tenement comprised a dwelling house, a yard and land (5 acres meadow, 27 acres of pasture and 6 acres of arable land, total 38 acres). Amazingly, although more than sixty years earlier than the 1677 survey, the rent and annual value were identical and would remain so as late as 1748, when John Ridout ‘son of Thomas’ was still the copyholder. In 1748, the tenement was again described in detail : 3 Closes called ‘Bralaindes’ (16 acres), 1 Close called ‘Holk Stile’ (1 acre), 1 Close called ‘Quintons Mead’ (¾ acre), ‘Cross Field’ (3 acres), Orchard (1½ acres), Moor Meadow (3 acres), three pastures ‘Strouds’ (12 acres) and ‘Taylors Close’ (¾ acre), totalling 38 acres with the same rent of 10s 9d, largely unchanged from 134 years earlier!
So, a man called Thomas Ridout who was, presumably, an adult in 1614 (if not 1596) held the copyhold tenancy of a farm or smallholding in North Wootton which, at some point in the intervening sixty-three years, passed to Jane Ridout, Richard’s widow and her two sons and then to the various descendants of Thomas and Margaret. Perhaps the original tenant was William Ridowte and Agnetha Barnard’s son Thomas (b. 1574) and maybe he passed the tenancy to Richard, and thence to Richard’s son Thomas and his descendants. This Thomas had probably moved to North Wootton from Sherborne at some point between the baptism of his first child, Mary (bp. 1598 in Sherborne) and that of his second, William (bp. 1599 in N. Wootton) But, is it really likely that Thomas and Edith Palmer named two sons Richard and that both survived into adulthood? Whilst there are precedents to this practice it bothers me that, in 1654, Walter Ridout didn’t identify Thomas, son of Richard Ridout of North Wootton as one of his nephews, albeit he left the boy some land, indicating a probable relationship. Equally William Ridowte didn’t name two Richards in his 1620 will, only one, being the ‘son of my son Thomas’ whereas both should have been alive if this theory was true. These details make me wonder if perhaps, like the Richards, there were also two Thomas Ridouts living in North Wootton at one time! What I do know is that one Thomas appears not to have been able to write his name. I wonder if William Ridowte’s son Thomas was literate?
It is unfortunate that the parish records for North Wootton are very sparse; some years have no entries at all and this is true of the period 1650-1659 when Richard and Jane may have married and when both Richard’s sons Thomas and John might have been baptised (although perhaps it was the correct John who was baptised in Sherborne in 1655). This mystery may remain unsolved, however unsatisfactory and frustrating.