Wills are an interesting source of information about your ancestors. I came across one made by my five times great grandfather George Tomlinson whilst I was researching his family. George was born in 1759 in Riccall, East Riding of Yorkshire to parents Edward Tomlinson (1726-1790) and Elizabeth Brearey (1731-1797). He married Ann Ardington of Gribthorpe (1759-1845) on 8 June 1793 in Riccall which is a village on the east bank of the River Ouse; its main historical claim to fame is that it is where the Norwegian and Danish forces, led by Harold Hardrada, landed in 1066. They then went on to win the battle of Fulford and lose the battle of Stamford Bridge to King Harold’s men. There is still a road called Landing Lane in Riccall.
George was a tailor, and in his will dated 12 August 1845, he mentions his late wife Ann and names his son Edward Tomlinson as his beneficiary as well as his other son George Tomlinson. George Davis and his wife Ann are mentioned as well as Mary Silversides “the daughter of my daughter Mary and Guy Silversides of Riccall, a shoemaker”. His specific bequests included:
- My four copyhold lands situated in East Field of Riccall to my son Edward Tomlinson and heirs.
- To my daughter Ann David the sum of £70.
- Books, plate, linen, china and household effects to my granddaughter Mary Silversides.
- Everything else to be divided equally to my sons George, and Edward, said daughters Mary Silversides and Ann Davis and granddaughter Mary Silversides.
The executors of the will were George Tomlinson and James Raft of Riccall. It was witnessed by Robert Edward Smithson solicitor and Edward Smithson his clerk and proved on 4 March 1851. George‘s death was recorded as 22 January 1851 and he was buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s in Riccall on 24 January 1851.
From his will and other researches I have carried out, I discovered that George and his wife Ann had at least the four children mentioned in his will: Ann, George, Mary and Edward. The following paragraphs provide brief biographies for them.
Ann (1794-1881) married George Davis (1788-1865) and together they probably had five children. In the 1861 census they were living at Violet Cottage, Gate Fulford and George was a bricklayer. By 1871 Ann was a widow living in Chapel Lane, Gate Fulford and an annuitant. Perhaps she had mostly benefited from the money left to her by her father? In the 1881 census Ann’s address was 3 Chapel Lane, Gate Fulford and she was living on her independent means. Ann left a personal estate of £74 0s. 9d.
George (1795-1868) and his wife Jane Simpson (1796-1887) also probably had five children. In the 1861 census they were living in Riccall and his occupation was recorded as a farmer of 17 acres. His probate record states that his effects were less than £100 and that his son Edward was the sole executor. Edward (1824-1869) died the following year leaving an estate of less than £200 to his brother William (1832-1921) and his mother Jane. After both these deaths Jane seems to have continued to live in Main Street, Riccall and in the 1881 census was described as a farmer’s widow.
Mary (1796-1866), my four times great grandmother, married Guy Silversides a shoemaker. Together they had at least ten children and lived in Riccall throughout their married life. The last census they were both recorded in was taken in 1861. One of their daughters, Isabella (1830-1885) is my three times great grandmother. She married Thomas Foster (1825-1902), a brick and tile maker and together they had at least 10 children. The family seemed to move from village to village, ending up in Kelfield by the time of the 1881 census. In the 1891 census Thomas was a brickyard foreman still living in Kelfield.
Mary and Guy’s eldest daughter Mary Silversides (1818-1860) was living with her grandparents in the 1841 census when her grandfather George was described a living on independent means. Perhaps she continued to live with her grandfather George after his wife died and that is why she is the only grandchild mentioned specifically in George’s will? After George’s death in 1851, Mary was recorded as living with her parents Guy and Mary in the 1851 census. However, by 1855, she had married George Ogram (1828-1900) who, was described their marriage record, as a widower aged 25. George’s first wife was probably Hannah Douthwaite (1834-1853). After Mary died in 1860, George went onto marry again in 1862 for a third time to Mary Dennis (born around 1832).
Edward (1800-1878) married Elizabeth Bentley (1802-1838) and together they had at least four children. Edward was a carter and after his wife’s death he does not seem to have re-married. He continued to live in Riccall, initially as the head of his household in the 1841 census, and then by 1861, he was with his daughter Ann (1828-1913), her husband Joseph Bulmer (1822-1891) and their children. He probably continued to live with them until his death and subsequent burial in St Mary’s churchyard in Riccall.
I got to know Riccall as a village when I was a child as it is where my grandparents lived. My grandfather, a descendant of Isabella Silversides, was a keen keeper of pigs as well as working at the BOCM plant in Barlby. We often visited them for Sunday afternoon tea. After my grandfather’s death one of my uncles continued his pig keeping activities on land in the north of the village near the old railway line. My family’s involvement with the land does seem to have come down through the generations. I do also wonder what happened to the copyhold land mentioned in George’s will. There are 1798 land tax records which show that George paid 13s 10d land tax for property in Riccall where he was both the proprietor and occupier. Incidentally, by 1858, Lord Wenlock, a local landowner, had increased his ownership of land in Riccall. I wonder if there is any connection between these two events. It sounds like another project for me to add to my list. If you know anything about any of the people I’ve mentioned in this story then do please contact me.