This isn’t a regular post but just a quick note to readers…. yesterday I was unfortunate enough to lose a golden opportunity to purchase what I would regard as a family heirloom. This item was an account book that had belonged to Arthur George Ridout, genealogist, whose early work on Ridout family history has formed the bedrock of my own research into our common roots for more than a decade. The book was sold on a popular auction site and the seller had written to me to let me know that it was for sale but, as luck would have it, and although I made a preliminary bid, I wasn’t able to bid further on the night and lost. Obviously there is very little that I can do about it… after all, if you’re not playing the game you can’t very well expect to win! Owing to the odd sum (in English currency) that was paid, I am guessing that the bidder, and now lucky owner of Arthur’s little book, lives in the US. If it is you … please would you consider getting in touch as I would love to know more about the contents. It had been my intention to transcribe the book and then give the original to the Society of Genealogists in London, where Arthur’s prolific research material is archived for posterity.
Fortunately for me, I had examined images of a few pages of the book which the book seller had posted on the auction site and these showed me a fascinating glimpse of Arthur… he had smoked (£15 6s 6d for a year!), kept a fine wine cellar, belonged to a gentleman’s club or two but was also quite a sporty chap, as his expenses on ‘amusements’ had shown. He paid a guinea (pre-decimal £1 1s) tax per year in order to be able to use a heraldic device, that is a coat of arms; since I am writing the closing chapter of my forthcoming book on the Ridouts of Sherborne, and the chapter is about armoury, I found this entry particularly fascinating.
Rather sadly, I also saw references, in 1913, to the annual expenses for Arthur’s son, Gaspard Alyured Evelyn (b. 1 Sep 1898) which included his 2s 6d weekly pocket money allowance. Then a boy at school, Gaspard went on to Eton College and from there to Woolwich to train as an army officer. 2nd Lt. Ridout went into the Royal Field Artillery on the 25th January 1918, landed in France with the British Expeditionary Force on the 6th February and was killed in action just forty-three days later, near Roisel; he was left where he fell.
Did you win the bid last night? Would you be prepared to share the contents of Arthur’s book with me? I would love to get a better look at this gentleman’s life and then perhaps I could write another chapter… on him. Please get in touch 🙂