The Morris HUTCHINS…. joining the dots of the Fontmell Magna Rideout’s tree

As I’ve mentioned before, I am currently trying to link disparate branches of Rid(e)outs into larger trees. In this instance I found two chaps of the same name, both of whom are linked to Rid(e)out families. Two men by the name of Morris HUTCHINS lived at one time or another in East Orchard, Dorset; maybe they were related but I have yet to discover whether or not that is true. East Orchard is about 4 miles NW of Iwerne Minster.

Morris (1726-1808)

This man was buried at Iwerne Minster on the 28th April 1808; unusually for the time, his age at death (82) was recorded in the parish register and therefore gave me an approximate year of his birth i.e. 1726. Despite this genealogical hint I’ve yet to find a baptism for this man.

Morris wrote his will on the 28th April 1798 leaving his estate to daughter Molly SHORT (he didn’t mention a wife or other children). In the event that Molly had no surviving children, three different properties were passed on to George or Henry Hutchins, Morris’ nephews, sons of his late brother Henry. Morris also mentioned Molly’s husband, John Short. Of course this will implies that in 1798, although John and Molly were married, they were yet to have children. I found a marriage of John Short to Mary Hutchins on the 25th September 1794 in Iwerne Minster and a burial of Mary Short on the 1st May 1810, aged 45 years. This would suggest that Mary, or Molly, was born in ~1765 and indeed there was a baptism of Molly Hutchins, to Morris and Mary, on the 25th May 1766 at Iwerne Minster (as Molly was a popular nickname for Mary at that time I am comfortable that this is the same individual). I believe that Mary died and was buried in 1810, aged 45; John married again, to Hester PEARCE in 1811. Hester Short died in 1849, aged 62 years and John in 1852 aged 83 years (suggesting a birth year for him of ~1769). There are no wills for any of this family, unfortunately, and I can find no offspring from either marriage.

Going back to Molly’s father Morris Hutchins, it seems likely that he was one and the same man who married Mary RIDEOUT on the 8th October 1764 at Melcombe Regis, the bride’s parish. Morris was said to be ‘of Ewern Minster’, a widower and a timber merchant; the register entry records Morris’ name as HUTCHINGS, but he signed his name without the terminal ‘g’. One of the two witnesses was named George HARVEY (is it a coincidence that this was the name of Hannah Rideout’s husband? See Robert & Cicely). If he was, as supposed, born in ~1726, then he was widowed before the age of 38 years. I found a burial entry for Mary Hutchins, wife of Morris, at Iwerne Minster on the 17th January 1752 but can find no trace of their marriage details.




Questions arising from the above are: (a) where and to whom was Morris born and (b) who was Mary Rideout of Melcombe Regis (Weymouth)? There is a burial of Mary Hutchins on the 17th January 1793 at Iwerne but whether she was Morris’ wife I do not know; at that time, such details were omitted for Iwerne Minster female burials. Incidentally, in 1761, a Morris Hutchins was apprenticed to George Short wheelwright of Iwerne Minster; since apprentices generally started at age 14, this suggests that this Morris was born ~1747, which was probably the second Morris Hutchins (see below).

The reason that I took an interest in Morris in the first place is because of his will; one of the leases that he left to Molly was for ‘a cottage and all appurtenances late the property of the Late Philip Rideout Clark.’ Is ‘clark’ a misspelling of ‘clerk’? The will I examined was not a copy but the original and contains other misspellings, for example ‘disease’ instead of ‘decease’ and ‘distrubeted’ instead of ‘distributed.’ If Philip Rideout was a ‘clerk’ i.e. a man in holy orders, and he had died before 1798, then this could be the Rev. Philip Rideout, vicar of Iwerne Minster (d. 1764) whose will fragment I previously examined. There is also an apparently relevant lease held in Dorset History centre (ref: D-GLY/1639); I have added some dates in square brackets:

**Fontmell lease in reversion dated 8 Jun 1776 between:
(1) Henry Lord Arundel
(2) Philip Ridout [1728-1814] on the life of Philip [1775-1834], son, aged 7 months.
Mentions Philip Ridout deceased [1696-1764], Morris Hutchins and Mary his wife, late Ridout.

Connecting Morris Hutchins with Philip Rideout via a lease may seem of little significance but, however tenuous, it did suggest an obvious candidate for Morris’ wife Mary – maybe she was Philip Ridout’s sister, Mary Ridout (bp. 1726) daughter of Robert and Cicely Ridout of Fontmell Magna.

**UPDATE… 29 January 2016

Having now seen a scan of the original 1776 lease, referred to above, I am happy to say that it proves my hypothesis: Mary Hutchins (b. 1726, née Ridout) was the sister of Philip Ridout (b. 1728). The wording of the particular section which confirms this relates to the new ‘life’, infant Philip: “… yielding and paying unto Henry, Lord Arundel, his heirs or assigns, the sum of three pounds of like lawful money on the death of the said Philip Ridout the younger if he shall happen to survive the said Mary Hutchins his aunt and the said Philip Ridout his father…..


The lease also gives details of the property in Fontmell Magna: “… a close of meadow called West Field, two closes of pasture called Coombe’s Closes and one close of pasture called Coombe’s Groves and one close of meadow called Common Mead lying in the common called Blackven Common, together with common of pasture in the summer time for three beasts…” The fine (fee) for this legal transaction was £52 10s, the rent 3s 9d and the herriot £3. The text also reveals that siblings Philip and Mary had originally come to this property with a lease dated the 22nd March 1756 but I cannot find details.

The extra information that is provided by looking at original documents and not just relying on index entries is pretty obvious and I am very grateful to Barry Brock (S&DFHS) for photographing this document at Dorchester for me.

Morris (1746-1796)

Baptised on the 20th July 1746 in Iwerne Minster, this Morris Hutchins was probably the son of ‘Thomas and Lucey’. If the apprenticeship previously mentioned relates to this Morris then he was perhaps a wheelwright. Thomas Hutchins married Lucey MITCHELL in December 1745 at Iwerne Minster – on the 13th, according to bishop’s transcripts, or the 30th according to the parish register. The couple had other children baptised:
Mary 12th Feb 1748; Elizabeth 7th Apr 1750; Thomas 8th Sep 1751; James 1st Jun 1754, Anna 29th Dec 1756; Lucy 27th Mar 1760 and Rebecca 1st Apr 1763. It is possible that, in the absence of other appropriate burials, Thomas and Lucy were the couple who, on the 27th May 1785 at Iwerne, were buried together and recorded as paupers in the register. After forty years of marriage the couple would have been at least in their 60’s.

Maurice, or Morris of Iwerne Minster and Mary TRIM (or TRYM) of Iwerne Courtney called the banns of marriage on the same day in both villages (on the 23rd Dec, 30th Dec 1770 & 6th Jan 1771) and were married on the 29th January 1771 in the bride’s parish. Numerous children were baptised in Iwerne Minster, one of whom was evidently born before the couple were married: Charlotte 27th May 1770; Arundel 23rd Jun 1771; Jenny 6th Sep 1772; James 20th Feb 1774; John 5 Nov 1775 (bur. 1776); John 20th Feb 1780; William 14th Jan 1781; Betty 16 Jun 1782. A much later baptism, Sarah on the 10th Jan 1796, may not be this couple’s child.

So far there is no obvious connection to a Rideout family; however, on the 4th February 1796, Morris and Mary’s daughter Jenny married James LAWRENCE at Fontmell Magna. There are three factors in support of this assertion: firstly, in the same way that Molly was commonly a diminutive of Mary, so Jenny was a diminutive of Jane. Whilst Jenny Hutchins was baptised in 1772, the burial of Jane Lawrence was recorded in Fontmell Magna on the 21st April 1846; she was said to be 74 years of age, confirming her 1772 birth. Secondly, the witnesses to the marriage were Arundel and James Hutchins, Jenny’s brothers and, finally, the couple’s first son, baptised in 1796, was named James Morris Lawrence!

Assuming that Jane’s husband James was the same age, or older, than her and that he hailed from Fontmell Magna, the most likely candidate was James Lawrence, baptised on the 27th May 1772 to James Lawrence and his wife Elizabeth (Betty) STILL, who married on the 27th February 1766 in Fontmell Magna (banns: 26th Jan, 2nd Feb & 9th Feb 1766). The couple had three other children: Elizabeth’s husband James was a miller; he died and was buried on the 19th June 1778 ‘in the 45 years of his age’. Elizabeth had pre-deceased James and was buried on the 29th March 1778 ‘in the 32 years of her age’ suggesting that she was born in ~1746. James Lawrence the miller was in turn the son of John Lawrence and his wife Martha Rideout and Martha was the daughter of Philip and Ursula Rideout.



What relationship was there between the two men named Morris Hutchins? At the moment I do not know, perhaps uncle and nephew, but in any event both men seem to have connections back to the same branch of the Rid(e)out family and possibly confirms an earlier theory that Ursula was indeed Philip of Tisbury’s second wife.

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4 Responses to The Morris HUTCHINS…. joining the dots of the Fontmell Magna Rideout’s tree

  1. Andrea Lewis says:

    Hello my best grandmother was a Rideout from the Cann/ Shaftesbury area of Dorset.

  2. [I did send this is an e-mail, but I suspect it didn’t get through!]
    You’ve done it again, Cat. Thanks for the fabulous research. Back to something you mentioned in your previous post. I have been struggling with that Fisher/Rideout switcheroo back in the 1860s. The 1861 British Census for Compton Abbas showed Walter and Emily Fisher and family, but, in the British Census for 1871, the family has moved over to East Orchard and is now listed as Walter and Emily Rideout, complete with the same kids. (Jacqui Bowen found this for me. She was doing some Ridout research on my great-uncle Enos Rideout who had dropped his “e” back in the 1901 Census.)

    What do you know about this? Any deed polls?

    Many, many thanks in advance.

    Eugene Rideout
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Telephone number: 519-735-9636

  3. Prevaricat says:

    Hi there Prof…

    I have heard about this constant name changing pattern between Fisher and Rideout; I don’t think anyone knows exactly why it happened but there are theories, one of which relates to illegitimacy, another that the local vicar was balancing the register when one name appeared too much (!) Truth is we just don’t really know, but this trend was repeated with other surnames apparently. As for deed poll, I doubt that the name switching was ever formalised… not a very helpful answer I’m afraid 😦


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