The Compton Abbas Rideouts: Thomas and who?

I’ve recently been examining incidences of the name Philip RIDEOUT amongst the S&DFHS collection of family trees. Having uncovered a nest of churchmen called Philip (see blog) I wondered if other so named men belonged to the same tree. The area in which several Philip Rideouts were to be found, and in roughly the same time period, is quite small and includes Compton Abbas, a village a couple of miles south of Shaftesbury.

Amongst the Somerset & Dorset FHS collection are trees which show an interesting line of individuals who historically changed their surname from Rideout to FISHER and back again a few times; Mr John CRADDOCK published articles on this phenomenon in the S&DFHS journal, The Greenwood Tree (Vol. 8 No. 3 p. 17).

The Compton Abbas family trees that I’m working on, gifted to the S&DFHS by Rideout family historians, including Mr Craddock, all show ancestor Thomas Rideout and his wife Elizabeth COOK of Cann who married in her home village on the 6th February 1753. The identity of Thomas’ parents, however, was inconsistent and so I thought I’d see what Ancestry online trees would show; it didn’t surprise me at all that the results were variable, to say the least. Here is a poll from 50 Rideout trees on Thomas’ data:

Baptism date: 17th October 1730 – 28 trees
Baptism date: ~1730 – 22 trees
Burial date: 16th July 1775 – 21 trees
Burial date: 25th June 1786 – 18 trees
Father’s name: Thomas Rideout – 32 trees
Father’s name: Thomas Mog Rideout – 18 trees
Mother’s name: Rose GATEHOUSE – 20 trees
Mother’s name: Rose or Rachell – 7 trees
Mother’s name: Susanna BURT – 5 trees
Parent’s names: Unknown – 11 trees

After checking images of the parish register I can say, with confidence, that there were no baptisms in Compton Abbas on the 17th October 1730, although on the following day a Thomas was indeed baptised to Thomas Rideout (I can’t say how the middle name ‘Mog’ came about as I’ve not seen this in any records). Pinning a dynasty onto someone who dies as a child is a common enough mistake; this example also provides a salutary lesson in not copying ‘facts’ without first checking their sources. Sadly, on the 2nd May 1734, probably the same little boy Thomas was buried…Thomas

Thomas and Rose RIDEOUT of Compton Abbas

 IMG_3293Thomas Rideout was a yeoman who lived in Twyford, historically a small settlement about one mile west of Compton Abbas; neither his birth year nor parentage are known for certain. Thomas was probably married to a lady called Rose, but there is NO evidence for her surname being Gatehouse! He wrote his will on the 10th January 1761:

“In the name of God Amen I Thomas Rideout of Tywford in the parish of Compton Abbas in the County of Dorset Yeoman considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound and perfect mind and memory blessed be Almighty God for the same do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following. I give and bequeath to my daughter Hannah Rideout five pounds a year to be paid out of two pieces of arable meadow or pasture land called Starvelings containing about six acres situate and being in Twyford aforesaid for and during her natural life by two even and equal payments the first payment to be made a half a year after my decease to be payd by my son Philip Rideout and if he shall neglect or refuse to pay the said annuity after fifteen days after the same shall become due and ought to be payd then and in such case she shall have full power to enter and take possession of the two closes till such arrears are fully paid. Nevertheless my will is that if my said daughter Hannah shall happen to marry without the consent of her brother Philip first had and obtained then and in such case my will is that he shall his executors administrators and assigns possess and enjoy the same said two pieces of land for his or their use and benefit as if no such annuity had ever been paid without the molestation or hinderance of my said daughter Hannah or her husband for and during my term in the said estate. Also I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary Hough five pounds a year during her natural life the first payment to become due twelve months after my decease. Item I give to my grandson Philip Hough the sum of twenty pounds when he shall attain the age of twenty one years. Item I give to my grandson Thomas Rideout the sum of twenty pounds when he shall attain the age of twenty one years. Item I give unto my son in law Mr John Hough and to my daughter Mary Hough the sum of five pounds to buy each of them a suit of mourning. Item I give and devise to my son Phillip Rideout and his heirs and assigns for ever all my freehold estate situate in Twyford aforesaid. And lastly as to all the residue and remainder of my real and personal estate goods and chattels of what kind or nature soever I will and bequeath the same to my said son Philip Rideout whom I make whole and sole executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all wills by me formerly made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this tenth day of January in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty one.” Signed Thomas Ridout. Codicil added 4th July 1775. Will proved 22nd July 1775 by Philip Rideout.

The most likely burial for Thomas, being between the 4th and 22nd of July, would be 16th July 1775 in Compton Abbas, as shown on the majority of the Ancestry Rideout trees. The will shows that Thomas and Rose had three surviving children in 1761 since only Mary, Philip and Hannah are mentioned. Hannah was an unmarried 38 year old in 1761 and died as a spinster in Compton Abbas in 1772 (bur. 9 Oct 1772).

Philip was a yeoman who inherited his father’s estate in Twyford; he married Rose FORD on the 17th Jan 1760 and they had a son Thomas (bap. Compton Abbas 19 May 1761) who was therefore a baby when mentioned in grandfather Thomas’ will. For whatever reason, Philip and Rose seemed not to have had further children and even Thomas probably did not survive since he is not mentioned in his father Philip’s will (dated 27th May 1792); maybe the burial in 1786 relates to this individual? Of course, that children are not mentioned in a will doesn’t necessarily mean that they’d died; sometimes they’d already received their inheritance but I think, in this case, that’s unlikely.

Thomas and Rose’s daughter Mary married John HOFFE on the 27th March 1758 in the bride’s home parish; John was a surgeon, a rather interesting profession in the mid 18th century! Philip Rideout left his entire estate to John:

“I give and bequeath unto my said nephew John Hoffe all that my leasehold estate situate in the parish of Compton Abbas aforesaid and called or known by then name of Lawrence’s with the appurtenances to hold unto my said nephew John Hoffe for and during all my estate term and interest therein subject and charged and chargeable with one annuity or clear yearly rent or sun of twenty pounds of lawful money of Great Britain which I do hereby give and bequeath unto my said wife Rose Ridout and her assigns for and during her life to be issuing and payable by my said nephew John Hoffe by four quarterly payments at or upon the four more usual days or times of payment in the years (that is to say the fifth day of January the fifth day of April the fifth day of July and the tenth of October the first payment thereof to be made on such of the said days as shall first or next happen after my decease. And as to all other my leasehold and copyhold estates and also all and singular my monies securities cattle stock implements of husbandry goods chattels and personal estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature or kind soever which I shall or may be possessed or entitled unto at the time of my decease subject to the payment of my just debts and funeral expenses I give and bequeath the same unto my said nephew John Hoffe his executors administrators and assigns and I do hereby make ordain constitute and appoint my said nephew John Hoff sole executor of this my last will and testament…”

This will provided one rather interesting clue: Philip leaves a leasehold estate named ‘Lawrence’s’ – which rang an instant bell…

In my last blog post I wrote about Philip Rideout of Tisbury (Wiltshire) who married Mary HAYTER. Since Mary had died in 1707, after having borne four children, I speculated briefly that Philip might have married again because I’d found three baptisms between 1711 and 1717, in Fontmell Magna, to a Philip Rideout and wife Ursula. I thought that after Mary’s death Philip might have moved with his children to Fontmell and started a second family. His youngest son Robert was to settle, marry, have children and die there so the idea that his father moved to Fontmell seemed feasible; I am still undecided. Regardless, Philip and Ursula Rideout had a daughter Martha (bap. 16 Feb 1714) who married John LAWRENCE in Fontmell on 19 Sep 1732. When Lawrence wrote his will, on the 5th November 1770, he appointed Thomas Rideout of Twyford his executor.

The National Archives helpfully provides the details of a property agreement:

Assignment: between James Lawrence of Fontmell Magna, Dorset, miller, Philip Lawrence of the same, fuller, James Swayne of Sturminster Newton, fuller, and Martha his wife, Samuel Lawrence of Fontmell, carpenter, Mary Lawrence of Fontmell, spinster, and Stephen Lawrence of Charmouth, miller, to Philip Ridout of Twyford, yeoman: land: Twyford, Dorset. Date: 1779.

So this agreement forms a chain of ownership, from Martha, James, Philip, Samuel, Mary and Stephen – all John and Martha Lawrence’s children, to Philip Rideout of Twyford and thence from him to Philip’s nephew John Hoffe. As if this wasn’t confusing enough, John Hoffe was married to Edith Rideout, daughter of William Rideout of Pegg’s Farm, Iwerne Minster and his wife Hannah (née WAREHAM). William and Hanna head a Rideout dynasty in Iwerne Courtney, marrying into local families by the names of APPLIN and MILES. No doubt Philip left his estate to John Hoffe because he was married to Edith Rideout… but what relationship was Edith to Philip? That question is yet to be answered.

Considering that this research began when I tried to sort out a Compton Abbas tree I ended up with much more than I bargained for! The property in Twyford seems to link three branches of Rideouts from Compton Abbas, Fontmell Magna and Iwerne Courtney:


To answer the original question though, I don’t believe that the Compton Rideouts descend from Thomas and Rose, which means looking elsewhere. Just one tree on Ancestry considered that Thomas, husband of Elizabeth Cook, was the son of Robert Rideout and his wife Rachel Gatehouse and, at this moment, I tend to agree…. to be continued.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to The Compton Abbas Rideouts: Thomas and who?

  1. barrybrock says:

    This is a really nice piece of work – the SDFHS should be proud of you!

  2. Prevaricat says:

    Thank you Barry…… 🙂

  3. Kevin Rideout says:

    I am a Rideout living in Bournemouth and a newcomer to family history having been inspired by my uncle who traced a branch of our family tree to John Rideout, born around 1817 in Twyford, Compton Abbas. So I was very chuffed to find this piece, especially the reference to the change of surname between Rideout and Fisher as it seems that my John Rideout also went by the name of John Fisher. Is the S&DFHS Journal that you mention available on-line?

  4. Jennifer Crane says:

    I am doing the Rideout branch of my family tree too. I have the parents of Thomas Rideout (my 6th Great Grandfather) born 1700 Compton Abbas and married to Elizabeth Cook as possibly being William Rideout and Alice Hywood. Will be keeping an eye on this page as my Rideout tree is becoming rather big. 🙂

    • Prevaricat says:

      Hi Jennifer…

      Thank you for joining the blog! As far as I know there seems to be little indication about the identity of Thomas’s parents – the inevitable brick wall! Would you please share with me why you think that they may have been William Rideout & Alice Hywood? If you have some evidence I would really be very interested to know more 🙂


      • Jennifer Crane says:

        Actually, looking at the actual baptism record, I would say it is Alice Hiscock and not Alice Hywood. I can’t prove they are his parents but merely a possibility at this stage. Also, the Thomas ‘Mogg’ query. I looked at the baptism record of a Thomas Ridout born 1705 in Sturminster Newton to a William Ridout and it looks like it states the child’s name is Thomas Hogg or Mogg.

      • Prevaricat says:

        Hi Jennifer

        I see what you’re saying…. Thomas Mog(g) Ridout, son of William & Alice Ridout born & baptised 13th December 1705 in S. Newton. Unfortunately, though, this little fellow was buried a couple of weeks later (a few pages back in the register) and so obviously cannot become the man that some folk have thought was the father of the Compton Abbas chap baptised in 1730 😢


    • Prevaricat says:

      Hi… for those who may be interested in this thread, here are the parish register entries for Sturminster Newton:

      Thomas Mogg, son of William and Alice Ridout, born and baptised 6th December 1705.
      Thomas Mog, son of William Ridout was buried 23rd December 1705.

      I personally think that this the same poor little chap but you may not agree 🙂


  5. Hi Karen. May I please have a copy of your Jan. ’16 e-mal to Kevin Rideout re the kerfuffle over the Fisher/Rideout situation in Compton Abbas back in the 1860s/70s? Many thanks. Eugene Rideout, Windsor, Ontario.

  6. Barry Rideout says:

    Hi Karen, Will read and digest your new work. Bill R of Berkhamstead advised that Thomas left Elizabeth Cook after the birth of her second child. The subsequent births are I am told given as Rideout ors Fisher in the records but I have not seen the originals. You will bear in mind the list of 21 Fisher ors Ridout marriages compiled by SDFHS [Will pop in post for you] [available from SDFHS]. No 270180 of the Ridout DNA project is like myself a direct decendent from one of the six Fisher/Ridout children. When I learnt of the Fisher Rideout issue I raised it in the SDFHS mag and received a telephone call from a lady living in Dorset who claimed to be a Rideout who confirmed she had in her research seen many Fisher/Rideout BMD’s too many to record. She also said that it was a joke within her branch of the family as to which name would be used. I know of two further “non paternal events” in the R name. Which I hope to explore one day , Barry Rideout

    • Prevaricat says:

      Hi Barry… Yes, I’m aware of the intricacies of the Rid(e)out/Fisher dynasty; a very strange but not entirely unique phenomenon of the time. I’m very glad that my Ridouts didn’t take this option as it must require much patience to unravel the parish registers!

      In this post I’ve taken liberties with your line and basically ‘removed’ the putative parents of Thomas your ancestor because I don’t think that anyone has proved for sure who they actually were, but I think not this Thomas and Rose anyway… a research challenge for you for 2017 perhaps? 🙂

      Best wishes and a Happy New Year to you and yours, Karen

  7. Jennifer Crane says:

    There is another Thomas Ridout born 1700 to William and Alice and baptised in Sturminster Newton. Maybe this is the son that died and they had another Thomas born in 1705? I have also found a Mogg family in Lydlinch, Dorset which is in the Sturminster Newton area. I have not yet found an Alice Mogg but there are a few Ridouts born in Lydlinch so there may be a connection with the Mogg/Ridout families somewhere. The Thomas Ridout and Alice Hiscock who were married in Margaret Marsh are not the parents of Thomas Ridout born 1705 as they didn’t marry until 1721, and they went on to have children in Margaret Marsh from 1722. There are a lot of Ridouts, for sure! It is giving me a headache. lol

  8. Cathy Wood says:

    Excellent work. Thank you. This made interesting reading.
    Why did Hough (as written in Thomas’s will) become Hoffe ?

    • Prevaricat says:

      Hi… there are a least five common forms of the name RIDOUT that I know of… the reason is, I believe, that many people in bygone times could not read; clerks who recorded wills or parish records simply wrote down what they heard… this resulted sometimes in several different spellings even in one document… in modern times we make much of how a word is spelt as opposed to how it sounds 🙂

  9. Dawn Hynes says:

    Thank you for posting this. My family is from Change Islands, Newfoundland, Canada. The first Hoffe that came from England was Joseph Hoffe (my 3rd Great Grandfather, born in 1797). Family stories always said that his father was a surgeon. We found out his father’s name was John Hoffe and John was married to Mary Rideout. So thrilled to find your post and to learn more about Joseph’s family.

  10. Lee Adams says:

    Hi Prevaricat,

    I’m looking for the parents of my Ancestor Thomas Rideout b 1745 who Married Martha Prence and had multiple children in Ashmore. Most Ancestry trees have his Father listed as the ubiquitous Rev. Phillip Rideout.

    Thanks to your research I’ve pretty much ruled out that it was this line.

    Could you spread any light on Thomas Rideout b 1745 of Ashmore?

  11. Richard Rogers says:

    Whether it is true or not, my information is that the father of William Ridout (born c 1550 in Sherborne and married to Agneta Barnarde) was a certain Thomas Ridout who was born in 1530 in Compton Abbas. I am descended through the Ridout family from Alford who were themselves originally from Comton Abbas.

  12. Richard Rogers says:

    I cannot be sure where I read it but it was somewhere on one of the family research websites. I only have it now on one of the many scraps of paper on which I have taken notes over the years. The full details are :- Thomas Ridout, born 1530 Compton Abbas, married to Leah (1530 -1550), died Gorleston 1596. I have also noted that his father was also Thomas,1508 – 1569, married to Henriett.
    I lost my male Ridout line when Elizabeth Ridout of Alford, born 1780, married Thomas Billing.

  13. Stacey Blackwood says:

    Hi, how amazing to find you and all of your hard work, I am currently doing my family tree and have come across my 5 th great grandmother called Betsey fisher or Rideout b 1810 in Compton Abbas, her dad Jesse fisher or Rideout and his dad James fisher or Rideout and was wondering if these are related to yours? Any help would be much appreciated. Many thanks Stacey

    • Prevaricat says:

      Hi… thanks for dropping by… when I’m next home and accessing my computer I will seek out any info that might help… from memory I don’t *think* that the Compton Abbas Rid(e)outs are related to the Sherborne bunch… having said that I’ve not done any active research for quite some time. Watch this space 🙂 K

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s