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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

William Rice of Rutland, tailor

One of Ari’s 6x great-grandfathers was William Rice. Working back from his death and marriage dates, he was probably born around 1730, when George II was on the throne. There is a baptism record in Uppingham for a William Rice on 2 August 1730, son of William, who was a joiner (mother not mentioned!).

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Finding this record has helped me find his seven siblings, four of whom died as babies, and put his parents’ marriage date at about 1726.

On 7 October 1762, William married Mary Pepper at the church of St Peter & St Paul in the market town of Uppingham, Rutland.


Once a year the market square in Uppingham has a traditional Christmas Fatstock Show. Cattle, sheep and pigs are judged.

We know from his children’s baptism records that William was a tailor. This is the record for the third son, Daniel, in 1768:

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Northamptonshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1532–1812,

The baptism records also tell us that William and Mary were living in South Luffenham.


See this page for the history of the village.

William and Mary had seven children altogether.

William died in December 1796 and was buried on the 30th of that month at St Mary’s in South Luffenham.

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Rutland Burials, Findmypast


Luckily for us, William left a will. It says (take a deep breath!):

In the Name of God Amen I William Rice of South Luffenham in the County of Rutland Taylor being Sick of Body but thanks be to God of Sound mind memory and understanding and considering the Certainty of Death as well as the Uncertainty of the time thereof Do make and Publish and Declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say first I give and devise all that my messuage Cottage or Tenement with the Hereditament and Appurtenances thereto belonging at South Luffenham aforesaid now in my own occupation unto my Dear wife Mary Rice for and during the Term of her Natural Life she keeping the same in good and tenantable Repair and from and after her Decease then I Give and Devise the same unto my son William Rice and to the Heirs of his Body Lawfully Issuing to my said Son William learning my Son Martin the trade of a Taylor or putting him out apprentice to that Trade or some other and in Case my Son William shall dye without Heirs of his Body Lawfully to be Begotten Then I give and Devise all the said Messuage Cottage or Tenement after my said Son Williams decease unto my second son Daniel Rice his Heirs and Assigns forever All the Rest Residue and Remainder of my Real and Personal Estate whatsoever or wheresoever to be found that I shall dye Possessed of after payment of all my just Debts funeral Expenses and the charges of Proving and Executing this my Will I Give Devise and Bequeath all these and every part unto my said Wife Mary Rice for and during the Term of her Natural Life and from and after her Decease Then I give the same to and to be equally divided between all my Children Except my said son William to be equally divided between them Share and Share alike I also make Constitute and appoint my said Wife and Brother in Law William Pepper of Uppingham Guardians for my said Children and also Executors of this my Will hereby Revoking all former Wills by me made In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal this second day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Seven

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Consistory Court of Peterborough: Wills, Administrations and inventories, Findmypast.     © Northamptonshire Archives Service

At the time that he wrote the will, his youngest son Martin was only a few months old, but sadly he died in August that year. His brother-in-law William Pepper had also died before he was able to take on guardianship of the children.

Most of the records for the family have the surname as Rice, but occasionally it appears as Royce, possibly reflecting the local pronunciation.

Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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