Seventeenth-century ancestors

Recent research has allowed me to find a few ancestors of Ari’s who lived in England in the seventeenth century, some in Dorset and some in Derbyshire.

I thought it might be interesting to look at the historical context, focusing on one of these ancestors, William Tomlinson. William is Ari’s 11x great-grandfather (one of two that I have found so far).

He died on 3 March 1693 in Duffield, Derbyshire, and must have been married in about 1660 (based on the baptism dates of his children), which puts his birth date at about 1640.

Charles I was on the throne at this time, and the English Civil War was just about to unfold. A PhD by Heather Falvey examines Duffield as part of a study of “custom, resistance and politics” in early modern England, and her thesis is available online. The parish of Duffield was part of the duchy of Lancaster, administered by a steward on behalf of the Crown. As well as farming and weaving, men at this time made their living by extracting iron ore, smelting, quarrying stone, mining coal, making charcoal, and making wire. (The occupation of wire-drawing involved turning metal into wire by drawing it through different-sized holes in a template.) Later, nail-making became more important in the area. Sources for this information in Heather’s PhD include the wills and inventories of some of these men. She also mentions a militia list from 1638 held in the National Archives, and of course men paid taxes, so there are hearth tax lists to consult. Heather uses the inventories of Duffield inhabitants to work out how many rooms they had and how wealthy they were, and we can do the same for Ari’s ancestors.

The inhabitants of Duffield had certain rights, and were entitled to use the forests, for example to feed their sheep and cattle, or to provide firewood and wood for making fences. This is what led to riots and resistance when some of the land was enclosed under Charles I. After a period of sabotage and non-compliance, actual rioting broke out in 1642. Evidence for these riots comes from court papers held in the National Archives, with 217 local people being named. They started by pulling down fences and destroying hedges “in a violent & tumultuous way”, and then drove their own cattle onto the king’s land.

This is the world that Ari’s ancestor William Tomlinson was born into, and it might even be possible to discover if his parents were involved. When William died in 1693 his estate was appraised and administered, and the records are part of the Findmypast collection called Staffordshire, Dioceses Of Lichfield and Coventry Wills and Probate 1521–1860. The first page starts in Latin, but then uses English to tell us that William’s surviving wife is called Anne. This page is signed by Anne, Samuel Tomlinson (William’s son), and Samuel Eyre, husband of William’s daughter Hannah.

The next page gives us the inventory:

From this, we know that he left property valued at £21, 16 shillings and 6 pence. The items were:

  1. A purse and apparel.

  2. In the house: five irons; three pewter dishes; one candlestick; a tankard; three bottles; a brass pot; an iron pot; a table; a form; a cupboard.

  3. In the parlour: an old bedstead; a rug; curtains; two chests; one little table.

  4. In the chamber: one half-headed bedstead with one flock bed and two blankets.

  5. One flitch of bacon

  6. In the shop: two looms(?) with materials belonging thereunto

  7. Linen and lumber

  8. Two cows and one heifer; two year-old calves.

This suggests that he may have been a weaver by trade. William was buried on 5 March 1693 at St Alkmund’s Church in Duffield. Even though he lived over three hundred years ago, there is still a story to be told and more to discover.

Ari, this is how you are related to William:

#Tomlinson #Derbyshire #Militia #Eyre #Falvey #Inventories #Duffield #CharlesI #Dorset

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I started my blog when my grandson Ari was born in Feb 2017. His birth gave me an opportunity to focus on part of what has become an unmanageably large family tree, looking again at all the records I

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