Richard Ridout of Sherborne and Richard Ridout of North Wootton: the same man or not?

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”.

Old Dorset map showing Sherborne, North Wootton, Allweston and Folke.

Old Dorset map showing Sherborne, North Wootton, Allweston and Folke.

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).

St Lawrence's church, Folke (© Chris Downer)

St Lawrence’s church, Folke (© Chris Downer)

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:

Richard Ridout's baptism in North Wootton, 1620.

Richard Ridout’s baptism in North Wootton, 1620.

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.

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21 Responses to Richard Ridout of Sherborne and Richard Ridout of North Wootton: the same man or not?

  1. Frederick Rapsey says:

    Most interesting. According to with-a-pinch-of-salt,Thomas(b.1574)was my 10th Great Grandfather & I am descended from Ridouts ending with Fortune(1773-1846)who married Job Love,whose grandson Frederick Rapsey was my great grandfather,an inspector in Bath City Police,remembered by my late father(also Fred)1916-2000,who died watching a boxing match in 1934.

    • Prevaricat says:

      Hi Frederick… thanks for reading my blog; glad you found it interesting. I know what you mean by ‘pinch of salt’ when it comes to Ancestry trees &c. In my records (taken from parish registers) George Ridout and Mary Hallett baptised a son Samuel on the 24th September 1735 and buried him ten days later on the 4th October. I know that a Samuel Ridout married Fortune Bugler in 1772 in Sherborne and that she died on the 30th August 1787 & he on the 28th June 1793. What I am unsure of is just whose son Samuel was! I don’t have any record of George and Mary Ridout baptising a second son Samuel – I’m not saying that you’re wrong, just that I don’t have a record of that so I don’t know for sure if Thomas Ridout would be an ancestor of yours or not. Unfortunately, coming down the female line from Fortune, we can’t find out through my Ridout yDNA project either – we’d need a male Ridout from the same branch.

      Interesting that you have police ancestors in Bath – so do I. Three members of my maternal grandmother’s family joined the City of Bath Police in the 19th century. My x3 ggfather, Henry OLLIS was pensioned off quite early on as he contracted TB but the other two, Charles GOULD and Joseph BEATON served for many years. Strangely, I am compiling information to write a book on the history of the force so if you have any old photos…. 🙂 Karen

  2. Jana Lien says:

    Hello, fellow Ridouts! I’m wondering if anyone has come across old Ridout family recipes in any of their research. I know I that’s outside of our normal findings when we dig into our ancestry, but, for instance, the Archives of Ontario have quite a number of Ridout family records in their collection, and I was thinking it might not be entirely impossible that a recipe would have been mentioned somewhere. Thanks! Jana

    • Prevaricat says:

      Hi Jana… well, I’ve been asked a lot of questions on my blog but this is a new one 🙂 I am afraid that the only recipe I have that I know is from a Ridout is my grandmother’s 1950’s chocolate cake! If you have read any of the other posts here, you’ll already know that several of our kin were bakers; as a keen breadmaker myself, I’d love to have their recipes. Sorry I can’t help but nice to hear from you anyway… cheers, Karen

      • Jana Lien says:

        Hi, Karen! Well, I knew it was a long shot, but I thought I’d try. 🙂 It WOULD be wonderful to have some of their old bread recipes, wouldn’t it? Thanks for your blog. It’s infinitely interesting and useful! Jana

  3. Edward Ridout says:

    Hello! I posted before but I’m not sure it went through 😦 I’m a direct descendant of ridouts from the Sherborne area and I think there’s just got to be a connection somewhere along the line. However I’ve only just started researching my ancestry and I’m feeling a little out of my depth. My great grandfather was a Richard Henry Ridout (1913-1944, his name is on a war memorial in front of the abbey in Sherborne). He’s the youngest son of George James Ridout (1869-1938) who was born in alweston and married in folke church. Since my great grandfather died in the war we’ve had little contact and/or knowledge of our family so if there is a connection it’d be fantastic! We’re all still in the area too!

    Many kind regards, Edward Ridout

    • Prevaricat says:

      Hi Edward…

      Nice to hear from you; your first comment did get through but, since I have to ‘approve’ of comments before they are published on the site and since I was on holiday, I didn’t see your remarks until just now 🙂

      You may well belong to the Sherborne family… many local Rid(e)outs from villages in the Sherborne area trace back to the town. First we’d need to do more research and take your line back until we find a possible link and I can probably help you there; secondly, you could, if you wished, take a DNA test with my one name yDNA Rid(e)out project – basically a cheek swab would be analysed for a few markers which tend to be little changed from your ancestors time and then we could match you (or not) to all of us who are already in the project and who are known members of the same Sherborne Ridout family. We’ve made great connections and found new branches too! Let me know if you’d like to look into that in due course. In the meantime I’ll have a quick poke around and see what I can find and then I will get in touch…


      • Edward Ridout says:

        Oops! I wasn’t sure how it worked, I’m glad I didn’t keep trying then!

        I’ve taken the family back a little further that what I forementioned but I’m not as sure they’re as reliable as I’m using the ancestry website. This is some of the line I was able to find online:

        George James Ridout married Ellen Marks 1895 in Sherborne Dorset
        William James
        Edgar Bradley
        Nellie Louisa
        Annie Elizabeth
        Alice Lilian
        Lionel George
        Richard Henry (great grandfather)

        Henry Bradley married Sarah Elizabeth Beaton
        5 Feb 1863 at Folke Church near Sherborne Dorset

        Joseph John
        Mary Ann
        George James
        Frank Henry
        Elizabeth Jane
        Joseph John


        John Ridout married Jane Bradley 23 April 1823
        at Yetminster John born abt 1796 at Holnest Dorset

        1.Frederick James* b. 2 Feb 1824
        2.Michael Bradley christened 27 AUg 1826
        3.William christened 17 Feb 1828
        4.Elizabeth Bradley christened 22 Nov 1829
        5.Henry christened 27 Nov 1831 & d. before Sep 1839
        6.George christened 10 Nov 1833
        all these children christened at Holnest
        7. Sarah Bradley christened 19 Dec 1839 @ Piddletown, Dorset
        8. Henry Bradley christened 15 Sep 1839 @ Piddletown, Dorset
        9. Joseph christened 15 Feb 1842 @ Winterborne Came, Dorset

        And of course I’d be happy to do a DNA test 🙂 I’ve just ordered your book too! Can’t wait to give it a read, absolutely fantastic blog too!

      • Prevaricat says:

        Hi Edward… do you have an email address please?

      • Edd says:

        I got your tweet! I barely use it anymore but it was good to see you!

        Kind regards Edd!

    • Becky Stacey says:

      Hi Edward,
      I’m not sure if this page is still being monitored, but I have stumbled across it whilst doing some research on behalf of my Aunty Sylvia. She is the daughter of Richard Henry Ridout (1913-1944) and sadly has never seen his grave in Bayeux War Cemetery so we are taking her on Sunday to Bayeux so that she can find it.
      Her mother was Alma Ridout (nee Hunt), who later remarried and became Alma Stacey.
      I wonder what the links are?
      Regards, Becky

      • Prevaricat says:

        Hi Becky… yes, even though I haven’t added to it for a long while, the blog is still monitored and so, happily, I’ll always know when I receive a message 🙂

        I expect you noticed that Edward has given his email address… have you tried writing to him? Unfortunately, Edward didn’t join our yDNA project and so a link between our two families has not been established, which is a pity… the FTDNA Rid(e)out one name project is only relevant for male RID(E)OUTs as us females obviously don’t carry the male line DNA from the Y chromosome… maybe if you got in touch with the gentleman you might solve the puzzle between you… I’d be interested to know the answer too!

        Cheers, Karen

  4. Prevaricat says:

    Hi Edward… I’ll check that data
    tomorrow (teatime now) and get back to you. Great about the yDNA too…. I’ll brief you fully on that as well… exciting times 🙂

    Bye for now,

  5. jan says:

    Hi. Im researching the Kaines family. The Agnes/Agneta Kaines who married Richard Rideout and settled in Folke, was a daughter of Richard Kaines c1578 and Joanna unknown. In her Mother’s Will, it confirms that Agnes married Richard Rideout.

  6. Edward ridout says:

    Hello Karen and Becky!

    Firstly, sorry I haven’t been active in following the DNA, I’ve been busy at university and haven’t had much time, nor money!

    And Becky, we are related so hello! My grandfather is Brian Ridout, your auntie Sylvia’s brother! My dad is Martin ridout who is Brian’s son.

    As for research I’ve conducted into Richard Henry ridout. I managed to find out how he passed away and just what he did in his life in the army. He was involved in the amphibious landings in Sicily and the Italian mainland, and then went on to take part in the d-day landings in Normandy. He died on the 10 July, a month after the landing having been involved in heavy fighting. “He was killed in afternoon whilst on patrol with D Company by a German MG Post. Initially he was reported missing along with another OR when the patrol returned. D Company sent out another patrol at 2330 to search for them and found them dead.” The man he is buried next to is Ronald mcallister from Wiltshire.

    I hope to hear from you both again, now that I have the time to dive back into our families history! Don’t be afraid to send emails to me, again on !
    Kind regard, Edd ridout

    • Prevaricat says:

      That’s a lot of useful info… 🙂

      How did uni go? Have you finished? What are/were you studying?

      Maybe when funds allow you could reconsider the yDNA test… you could prove, or otherwise, links between your family and the larger Sherborne clan about which I write mostly. I’ve already written about what I think is lineage but it would be lovely to know one way or the other.

      Cheers both

      • Edward ridout says:

        Hi Karen!
        University went well, ended up with a 2:1 in forestry! Moving into management rather than being a lumberjack!
        Never didn’t consider doing the dna test I just haven’t had the spare money to be able to fund it, as soon as I have the spare change I will send off for it, I still have your email with all the instructions so!
        Kind regards, Edd

  7. Prevaricat says:

    Congratulations… forestry is a useful and very relevant skill, given our current climate challenges.

    As for the yDNA test, it’s good to know that you’re still considering it as do-able, when funds allow; some of the huge name projects actually have their members donate money into a pot and then can pay for new members to sign up but, unfortunately, we don’t have anywhere enough people in our group … when you do submit a sample though I certainly won’t be the only person who’ll be interested in the results 🙂

    Cheers, Karen

  8. Mark Rideout says:

    Hello, the Richard Ridout of Folke in this blog is perhaps my great grandfather x14. I am from Newfoundland, Canada, where there are many Rideouts. The first Rideout in my line to land in Newfoundland was Joseph Rideout, in the late 1700s, who came from Holnest, Dorset. I currently live in England and will soon visit Sherborne, Folke and Holnest. Thank you for your website. Would love any lineage info beyond Richard.

    • Prevaricat says:

      Hi Mark… thanks for dropping by; I’ll have a look in a few days, to see if I have any additional data. I am on holiday at present 🙂

    • Prevaricat says:

      Hi Mark… I have taken note of your email address and will contact you in the next few days; In the mean time I’ll see if I can find any information for you… kind regards, Karen

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