Walter Rydowte of Folke, a gentleman and a rebel!

From all the documentary evidence about William Rydeowte of Chettle, it has been established that Walter Rydeowte was William’s nephew and was first mentioned in his uncle’s will of 1603 as the beneficiary of estates in Sherborne. As with William, there are several instances where Walter appears in Sherborne records and others:

[1] The Sherborne School Register 1823-1900. Rogerson, TC (1900): From the General List of Shiburnians (p. 294):

“Circ 1575. Rideout, Walter, of Sherborne. BNC Oxon 1580 Governor 1605, Warden 1611.”

This entry shows that Walter entered Sherborne School as a pupil in about 1575 and returned several years later, after leaving Oxford University, to become a governor and a warden (see below)

[2] Alumni Oxoniensis 1500-1886, Joseph Foster:

Brasenose College, Oxford. 17th century print.

Brasenose College, Oxford. 17th century print.

“Rid(e)out, Walter, of Dorset, pleb. Brasenose College., matric entry under date 18 July 1580 aged 16.”

The word pleb, short for plebeian in this context means that Walter was regarded as a commoner rather than as a son of gentry or an aristocrat. Obviously, if he matriculated (registered) in 1580 at the age of sixteen, this means that he was probably born in ~1564 and entered Sherborne School when he was eleven.

[3] Declaration of Trust between (a) The Governors of Sherborne School and (b) Laurence Swetnam, gent, John Foster, Walter Rydowte, gent and Robert Whetcombe all of Sherborne. Property: The School House, from (a) to (b) on condition: that (b) holds the property in trust for the remainder of the lease for the use of the Grammar School. 27th Aug 1605 [Ref: S235/D1/1/3]

These gentlemen were all governors of the School at this point; the document shows that they jointly shared a role as trustees for the building, which was to used by the School.

[4] Sherborne Almshouse, account of Walter Rydowte, Master (1608-09) [Ref: D/SHA/A177 & 178]. See the similar entry for William.

[5] Sherborne School, Walter Rydout, collector for certain shambles (1610-11) [Ref: S235/C5/2/23]

Shambles (sometimes written as ‘shammells’) were small market stalls, selling fish or meat, many of which were leased and operated by the governors of Sherborne School. These stalls were owned by the school to which the leaseholders paid rent providing another source of income to the establishment. Walter, as warden of the school, was collecting these rents and keeping accounts.

Signature of Walter Rideout. 1611.

Signature of Walter Rideout. 1611.

[6] Sherborne School. Draft Account for Walter Rydowte (1611-12) [Ref: S235/B1/52/1]. See the similar entry for William.

[7] Sherborne Manor Survey 1614.

Walter held ‘diverse houses and lands’ as a freeholder (ownership in perpetuity rather than by a lease) in ‘Sherborne Manor’ (rent 14s 8d), ‘Castleton’ (£5 0s 4d) and a dovecote at Barton Farm let to William Fisher. His service was by swearing fealty, presumably to the Lord of the Manor. These properties probably represent those bequeathed to him by his uncle, William of Chettle in 1603.

[8] Chancery case, 19 James I. Ridout v Standen, 7th February 1623

“Walter Ridout the Orator of Alweston Gent. Whereas Edward Standen of Sherborne yeoman about 4th year of Elizabeth (1562) obtained a decree in Chancery against John Meere and William Meere of Sherborne, gentlemen of and concerning three tenements in Sherborne: Standen pressed for the money and said Meere mortgaged the three tenements to John Starr of Yeovil, Dorset for 100 marks and for non-payment Standen “bussed” a forfeiture to said Joseph Starr in ……… and that the said John & William Starr had notice of the same etc. etc. Standen being then a stranger to Walter Ridout made means by his brother-in-law Walter Ffryer to obtain access to him and Walter Ridout lent him the money to redeem the tenements from Starr: they continued to importune your orator and his wife till the money was lent. “He could have no rest for her weepeinge”. Thereon about two years past your Orator lent Standen £65 to redeem the tenements on which Standen assigned the three tenements to the Orator for the rest of his term. Six months since failing payment, your Orator became possessed of them absolutely. John Meere then sent a letter to your Orator (one clothier & Henry Meere mentioned) and by & bye your Orator entered upon the tenements upon which “ Johan ye wife of ye said Standen tooke a long rise out of ye hedge and sette upon your Orator threwe stones at him. Wherewith her boye sett a greate Mastiffe dogge att your Orator in so much yet if your Orator having then but a Cudgell in his hand not well defended himselfe from ye said Mastiffe he had torne out his throate”. John Ffoster of Sherborne, yeoman persuaded Thomasine Starr a young girl to be a partner for the payment of the money. These troubles have been going on for the Orator seven years before that suit and eight years since. In all fifteen years. Your Orator being an Attorney-at-law was persuaded to sue John Oke of Sherborne yeoman – mentions also John Ffawkener gent & Robert Golbery Attorney.”

This document shows that, apart from having had a rather difficult time with an irate woman and her dog, Walter was an attorney, presumably having studied law at Oxford. It also suggests that Walter may have married a female with the maiden name of Fryer. There are other chancery proceedings which give small clues to family events, for example the case of Ridout v Vincent. (1624) in which Joan Vincent, sister of Walter Ridout, is mentioned and Ridout v Whetcombe (1627) records that Walter’s daughter Barbara was married to Thomas Whetcombe but had died in 1625 (8th September 1625 at Folke: “Barbara Whetcomb, uxor Thome Whetcomb, sept.”). Ridout v Keynes (1631) says that, at the time of a prospective sale, Walter was busy ‘about a marriage of his eldest son’. Walter’s son William lost his first wife, Mary FAUNTLEROY after the birth of a daughter Dorothy, baptised on the 21st April 1630; Mary was buried eight days later at Folke; see also administration of Mary Rideout alias Ffauntleroy granted 20th Nov 1630 to William Rideout of Alweston, Dorset, husband. At some point, William married Ann BALLARD from Lamberhurst in Surrey, a wedding that may have taken place in 1631, although I can find no documentary evidence.

[8] The Almshouse of SS John, Sherborne guide book (p.6): ‘A brother committing an offence was fined. In 1637 Walter Ridout, when ordered to pay a certain sum of money spake many undecent and high words… amongst other words hee sayd Mr Hele of Clifton Maybank had never a hound of a bigger mouth than the Steward Mr Wright had!’ Clearly, Walter was sometimes a bit outspoken; at this point, he was seventy-three.

Signature of Walter Rideout. 1642.

Signature of Walter Rideout. 1642.

[9] Sherborne School: Statement issued by Walter Ridout protesting against the expulsion order by the Governors, because of his support for the Roundheads (1642). [Ref: S235/A2/5/2]. Walter was now seventy-eight years old but still in trouble! This document, written in Walter’s small but meticulous hand, represented his opportunity to plead against expulsion; it is very hard to read and transcribe but, if I can make sense of it, I will post the results here. In any event, Walter was unsuccessful and was expelled shortly thereafter. From the little that I have read it seems likely that the other governors considered the man quarrelsome and rude and had seized on an opportunity to be rid of him.

[10] Folke’, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 1: West (1952), pp. 110-114.

On the south wall of St Lawrence’s church in Folke is (or at least was in 1950) a monument to Walter; it is a ‘tablet with an arched panel and painted emblems of immortality.’

St Lawrence's church at Folke. Photo © Mike Searle

St Lawrence’s church at Folke. Photo © Mike Searle

Walter may have been considered as a plebeian when he entered Oxford University but was recorded as ‘generosus’, or ‘gentleman’, by 1609, possibly as a result of inheriting property from his uncle William. It is self evident that at some point before his death, Walter and his wife moved from Cann to Sherborne to Folke, although he was involved with business in Sherborne throughout. The ‘Members of Oriel College, Oxford’ (Registrum orielense, book 1, p. 165) shows an entry which reads simply ‘Rideout (Riddut) admitted commoner 1618-1619’ with no indication of forename or other details. A commoner is defined as a student who does not have a scholarship. The ‘usual’ age of entry at university in the 17th century was about 16 suggesting that ‘Rideout’ was born in about 1601/2. Could this be William, son of Walter whose education was provided for by William of Chettle’s will?

From all the documents above and parish records, here is the descendancy from Walter:

Walter of Allweston (Folke), gentleman, born 1564. “Mr Walter Rideout (who died at Caundle Marsh) was buried the 27th October 1643 at ffolke church”; attorney. Walter may have married Thomazine (?)Fryer, who was buried at Folke: “Tamsam, the widow of Mr Walter Ridout deceased was buried the 4th day of September 1657”. The couple had several children:

1. Grace (no baptism found) married at Sherborne 17th Apr 1615 to Leonard NOX
2. Francis(ca) bp. Cann, 20th Oct 1594 ‘daughter of Walter’, buried 31st Oct 1607 in Sherborne
3. Barbara bp. Sherborne 16th Jul 1596; died 1625. Married at Sherborne 1st Jun 1618 to Thomas WHETCOMBE of Folke.
4. Magdaline bp. Sherborne 4th Feb 1598/59
5. William of Allweston bp. 13th Dec 1601 in Sherborne; buried in Folke on the 1st Jul 1671. Married Mary, daughter of William FONTLEROY of Fontleroys Marsh, buried in Folke on the 29th April 1630; they had a daughter:
     5.1 Dorothy, bp. Folke 21st Apr 1630
William married secondly Ann BALLARD of Lamberhurst Sussex and had:-
     5.2 Anne, bp. Folke 16th Nov 1638, buried Mayfield 17th Aug 1699 (Anne was guardian of her brother Richard’s children on his death in 1694)
     5.3 Margaret, bp. Folke 1st Nov 1639, buried Folke on the 15th Nov 1641
     5.4 William, bp. Folke 29th Dec 1641. He inherited a house & land at Lamberhurst from his Uncle Richard Ballard
     5.5 Richard, bp. Folke 4th Sep 1644, buried Mayfield 14th Jul 1694. Married Sarah DOBELL on the 18th Dec 1684.
     5.6 John bp. Folke 30th May 1646, buried Folke 30th May 1667
     5.7 Mary bp. Folke 19th June 1650, buried Uckfield 18th Sep 1688. Married Gabriel EAGLES
     5.8 Walter bp. Folke 12th Sep 1652. Lived in Wiltshire, died before 1695.
     5.9 Helina buried Folke 7th July 1661
6. Alse bp. Sherborne 22nd Dec 1606 ‘daughter of Walter’
7. Margaret bp. 9th Apr 1609 ‘daughter of Walter generosus’
8. Walter bp. 23rd Jun 1611, buried 6th July 1615, ‘son of Walter generosus’
9. John bp. 29th May 1614, ‘son of Walter generosus’

The first five of Walter’s children were named in William Rydeowte of Chettle’s InqPM in order of seniority, confirmed by parish records, and the terms of William’s will. Walter’s younger children, of course, had not been born in William’s lifetime. Today there are still living descendants of this family who can claim one of Walter’s sons as their ancestor.

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