Reuben Spencer, yeoman and miner

Reuben Spencer was Ari's 7x great-grandfather. He was born in 1743 or 1744 in Middleton, Wirksworth, Derbyshire, and baptised on 1 February. His parents were Benjamin and Hannah, who must have married in about 1730.


On 12 June 1764, Reuben, whose occupation was "miner", married Elizabeth Buckley from Matlock at St Mary's church in Wirksworth:


Derbyshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-–1932, Ancestry.co.uk


Reuben's brother Arthur was one of the witnesses, and the other may have been Elizabeth's brother, George.


Reuben had applied for a marriage licence the previous day in Ashbourne, in which he and Elizabeth's father, a weaver called Thomas Buckley, were bound in the sum of one hundred pounds as follows:



Staffordshire, Dioceses Of Lichfield & Coventry Marriage Allegations And Bonds, 1636–1893, Findmypast


Reuben's first son, named after him, was born the following year, followed by two daughters, Elizabeth and Hannah, another son, Arthur, and a third daughter, Grace, in 1775.


I believe that Reuben then moved to Bonsall, where he died in November 1818. His will, made in the days before his death, provides handsomely for all of his children, and reads as follows:


In the name of God, Amen, I Reuben Spencer the elder of Bonsall Lees, in the parish of Bonsall, in the county of Derby, yeoman, being of sound and disposing memory and understanding, do make this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to say,

First I direct all my just debts and funeral and testamentary expenses to be fully paid and discharged by my executor hereinafter named out of my personal estate, and in case the same should prove insufficient for that purpose, then I charge the real estate hereinafter devised to my son Reuben Spencer with the payment thereof.

And I give and devise my building or stable situate at Middleton, in the parish of Wirksworth, in the said county of Derby, and a garden lying near the same, and also my close or piece of land situate and lying in Middleton aforesaid, called the Heastus [?] Close, now in the occupation of Job Spencer and Isaac Spencer, or one of them, unto my daughter Hannah the wife of the said Job Spencer and her heirs for ever.

Also I give and devise another close or piece of land called the Heastus Close, situate and lying in Middleton aforesaid, and now in the occupation of my son Arthur, unto him my said son Arthur and his heirs for ever.

Also I give and devise my messuage or dwellinghouse situate in Middleton aforesaid with the garden and appurtenances thereto belonging, now in the possession of William Flint, and also my close or piece of land situate and lying in Middleton aforesaid, called the Long Load Close, now in the occupation of Joseph Buckley, unto my daughter Grace, the wife of the said Joseph Buckley and her heirs for ever.

Also I give and devise my messuage or dwellinghouse situate in Middleton aforesaid with the garden and appurtenances thereto belonging, now in the possession of Joseph Marple, and also my close or piece of land situate and lying at Bole hill in the parish of Wirksworth aforesaid, called the Hard Gang Close, now in the occupation of the said Isaac Spencer, unto my daughter Elizabeth the wife of Joseph Flint of Bole hill aforesaid, miner, and her heirs for ever.

And I give, devise and bequeath all the residue and remainder of my real estate of what tenure or kind soever, and wheresoever situate, and also my personal estate (subject to the payment of my debts and funeral and testamentary expenses as aforesaid) unto my eldest son Reuben Spencer, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, according to the nature of such estate respectively.

And lastly I do hereby nominate and appoint my said son Reuben Spencer sole executor of this my last will and testament, and revoke all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this tenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen.



Bonsall Lees (or Leys) was an area where lead was mined:


"Includes areas of intensely worked small mines, typifying the Miner/Owner/Farmer practice of exploitation in the Derbyshire orefield in the 17 to 18th century. The whole area was worked from the 1540s to the 1800s, always on a small scale and only ever down to the level of the Matlock Lower Lava c.150ft below." (See https://her.derbyshire.gov.uk/Designation/DDR525 for a full description and a map.)


Ari, this is how you are related to Reuben:




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