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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

James Sims of Duffield

James Sims (also Syms and Simms) was Ari’s 8x great-grandfather, born in Duffield, Derbyshire in 1681 when King Charles II was on the throne. This is his baptism record from the Duffield parish register, showing that he had been given the same name as his father:


Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812


His mother was Elizabeth Jennison, and James was their third son.


On 5 May 1708, James married Hannah Barber at the church of St Alkmund in the village:


Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812


James and Hannah had at least six children.


James died in 1763 and was buried in the churchyard at Duffield on 6 March. His will had been written a few years earlier, in 1759, and was proved on 11 October at Lichfield. It reads as follows:


"In the name of God Amen, I James Symms of Broadholm near Belper in the parish of Derby, widower, being weak in body, but of sound and perfect understanding and memory (blessed be God), do make and appoint this my last and testament and desire it may be received by all as such, in manner following humble bequeathing my soul to God who gave it desiring this most gracious acceptance of it, and pardon for all my sins Amen; First my will and mind it is that all my just debts and funeral expences shall be paid and discharged by my Executor herein afternamed.


Item I give to my beloved son Charles Simms that possession called Butler’s living where he now dwells to have and to hold (with my landlady’s consent).


Item I also give and bequeath to my said son Charles Simms my share, being one fourth part of a living situate and lying at Wall Stone with all the premises thereto belonging.


Item I leave my grandson James Simms* those three houses and gardens being situate and lying in Belper wherein Timothy Martin and Joseph Walker now dwells when my said grandson James Simms shall arrive at the age of twenty one years, and until that time I will that my said son Charles Simms shall have and enjoy the said tenements, but if my said grandson James Simms shall die before the age mentioned I leave the same to my son Charles Simms disposal (with my landlady’s consent).


Item I give and bequeath to my beloved son Samuel Simms all my share of land being situate and lying at Hithin Holes.


Item I also leave to my said son Samuel Simms the Swinny Croft and the Dunge Pingle; I also leave to my said son Samuel Simms all the whole possession of Broadholm living with all the personal estate thereto lying.



Item I give to my beloved daughter Hannah Harrison the sum of forty pound during her natural life, to be paid in a twelvemonths and a day’s time after my decease and at her decease my will and mind it is the said forty pound shall be paid to my grandson James Harrison, son of John Harrison of Denbigh.


Item I leave unto my said son Samuel Simms the possession of the Fishyards my son Samuel

paying his brother Charles the sum of ten pounds to be paid at the expiration of twelve months after my decease. And I do hereby nominate and appoint my said son Samuel Simms my sole executor of this last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this seventeenth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty nine."


The signature and seal of James Sims


*His grandson James was the son of Charles, a wheelwright, and had been born in 1754, so was only five when the will was written.


Ari, this is how you are related to James:



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