A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode
Father of William Rickards II
Also Father of Joseph Rickards
The Reverend Joseph Rickards, Rector of Nettleton, was described as being born in about 1649. He was the son of William Rickards of Yanworth in Gloucestershire, a pleb. William Rickards I also had a son William Rickards II.
A Witt Rickards was buried at Yanworth on 28th April 1679 and Margery Rickards on 29th May 1679.
Joseph Rickards was born in about 1649. He was the son of William Rickards of Yanworth in Gloucestershire, a pleb. It is possible that he attended the nearby Westwood’s Grammar School in Northleach. Joseph studied at Christ Church, Oxford, and matriculated on 13th July 1667, aged eighteen years. He received his B.A. in 1671 and in 1672, as a candidate of Christ Church College, he was dispensed for ordination to the diaconate outside of the canonised time and place (D/1/14/1/1c/15 1672). His ordination to the Diaconate took place on 12th November 1672. Also in a document of 1672 he was permitted to continue as curate at Pertwood in Wiltshire (D/1/14/1/1c/16 1672), a small rural village near to Chicklade. We know that Joseph obtained his M.A. in 1674. According to the Victoria County History for Wiltshire, Volume VIII, Pertwood had a congregation of only eight people in1676.
In 1681 Joseph Rickards was inducted as the Vicar of Down Ampney in Gloucestershire, a living which was the gift of Christ Church College. From 27th January 1686 Joseph Rickards served as Rector of Nettleton in succession to John Fabian and he held this post until his death. The clergy call book for the Diocese of Salisbury refers to a Josephus Ricketts on 21st October 1698 and Joseph Brickets on 10th June 1714.
There is a marriage allegation dated 22nd August 1694 between Joseph Richards (signed Rickards) of Nettleton, Wiltshire, aged forty years and Mary Nash of the Colledge (sic) of Gloucester, aged twenty-six-years. According to the will of John Nicholls a yeoman of Nettleton, written in 1727, Joseph Rickards married Mary who was a relative of the Oldnell Family of Worcester. A signature on paperwork associated with Joseph Rickards’ estate indicates that they had a niece – ‘Mary Rickards, the daughter of Wm Rickards’
Joseph Rickards made his will on 20th July 1707 in which he describes himself as being a clerk of Nettleton, ‘infirm of body but of sound disposing mind and understanding’. He appointed as his executors the following four gentlemen:
In his will Joseph Rickards listed some of his goods, namely household stuff, utensils, implements of household, bedding linen, woollens, brass, pewter, plate, stock of cattle, corn, hay, and all other goods. He referred to his wife Mary to whom he left all his property except for the bequest of one shilling to his brother William Rickards and a guinea a piece for his executors to buy mourning rings.
Joseph Rickards died on 23rd November 1714 (according to CCed) but there is no record of this event in the burial register at Nettleton. We know that Samuel Arnold was appointed to succeed him as Rector of Nettleton a position he held for ‘near 40 years’. In 1822 Sir Thomas Phillipps recorded a monumental inscription on a flat stone in Nettleton Church as follows:
‘Here lyeth the Body of Mr. Joseph Rickards, late Rector of this Parish, who departed this life the 24th day of September, 1714, Aged 66 years.’
On 16th October 1714 Thomas Goddard of Castle Eaton renounced his executorship in a warm letter written to Mary Rickards and by this time Richard Humphreys, another executor, had died. Then Richard Adey and William Allway renounced their executorships in a legal document dated 25th May 1715. These resignations enabled Mary Rickards to administer her own affairs and the document was signed by them both together with the names of John Nicholls and John Bethell. Mary Rickards and John Bethell also signed an obligation in July 1715. John Bethell was now the husband of her late husband’s niece as Mary Rickards had married John Bethel on 9th June 1715 at Nettleton.
On 6th February 1717/18 Mary Rickards herself married John Nickols at Nettleton. We know that she was the widow of Joseph Rickards from her second husband’s will of 1727. It is possible that John Nicholls had previously been married to Catharine Price as there is still a plaque on the south wall of the chancel of Nettleton church which records:
‘Beneath this place lyeth interred the Body of Catharine, the Wife of John Nickolls, of this Parish, and Daughter of John Price, late of Chepstow, in the County of Monmouth, who departed this life the 24th day of April, 1714, Aged 62. Arms – S, a chev. A’. (Sir Thomas Phillipps 1822)
John Nicholls made his will on 21st October 1727. He was a yeoman of Nettleton and refers to land at Burton in Nettleton parish now in the possession of John Nicholls and John Bethell his tenant. This land had been granted to Joseph Rickards, the first husband of his wife, Mary. The will mentions many of Nicholls’s relatives including his sister Sarah Bristow, widow of Isaac Bristow, and their children Isaac and James and Anne Bristow. He also mentions his wife Mary’s kinswoman Martha Oldnell, spinster and daughter of Edward Oldnell, deceased.
According to the burial register Mr Nicholls was buried in the chancel of Nettleton Church in 1727 and there was a flat stone with the following inscription:
‘Here lyeth the Body of Mr. John Nicholls, of this Parish, who died Oct ye 31st, A.D. 1727, Aged 73’ (Sir Thomas Phillipps 1822)
Mary Nicholls made a PCC Will on the 20th September 1729. She was described as a widow of Nettleton. She left to her niece Judith Cooke of the City of Worcester, widow, the tithes etc. and other income from her property at Senbridge (presumably Saintbridge in the parish of Upton St Leonards which was known as Stenbridge in 1608 Men & Armour), Gloucestershire. She left a guinea to her good friend, John Gregory, Clerk, a guinea so that he might purchase a ring. She then left £10 each to Thomas Oldnall and Mary Oldnall the son and daughter of Edward Oldnall, late of the City of Worcester deceased. She then mentions John Bethell of Nettleton, yeoman, and the balance of the £77 of a debt that he owed to the estate of her husband John Nicholls. John was to pay back £50 to the estate and the residue of the debt was to be paid to his wife Mary Bethell. Mary Nicholls’s servant maid, Hannah Bullock was to receive ten shillings. The rest of Mary Nicholls’s estate was to pass to Judith Cooke who was also appointed sole Executrix. The will was witnessed by Mary Huggins and St John Fabian.
John Gregory was probably the son of the Archdeacon of Gloucester and his wife Elizabeth, and nephew of Abraham Gregory. John was at Hempsted from 1678 when at the age of twenty-four-years he succeeded his father as Rector of Hempsted. He married Sarah Lysons of Hempsted, who died in 1682 when their son John was born. John Gregory occupied Wardle House in College Green, Gloucester, for some years.
The witness was probably St John Fabian, gent, who died on 4th June 1731 aged fifty-one-years rather than his father who bore the same name who died on 2nd November 1729 aged eighty-five-years.
Son of William Rickards I
Father of Mary Bethel
William was referred to in his brother, the Reverend Joseph Rickards’s will of 1707 as a beneficiary of one shilling. He was presumably born at Yanworth, the son of William Rickards, a pleb.. William Rickards II had a daughter Mary who was witness to her uncle’s will.
Wife of John Bethel
Mother of Mary Buckle
Also Mother of Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph and John
Mary Rickards is first mentioned as a witness of her uncle’s will of 1707. She made her mark and was described as ‘Mary Rickards, the daughter of Wm Rickards’
In 1714 the Reverend Joseph Rickards, Rector of Nettleton died and his will of 1707 and subsequent documentation reveal various details about John Bethell who it would seem was to become his niece’s husband. First of all we find the executors of Joseph Rickards’s will fading out of the picture. On 16th October 1714 Thomas Goddard of Castle Eaton renounced his executorship in a warm letter written to Mary Rickards and by this time Richard Humphreys, another executor, had died. Then Richard Adey and William Allway renounced their executorships in a legal document dated 25th May 1715. These resignations enabled Mary Rickards to administer her own affairs and the document was signed by them both together with the names of John Nicholls and John Bethell.
Mary Rickards married John (Jno sic) Bethel on 9th June 1715 at Nettleton in Wiltshire. They had at least five children who were born between 1718 and 1727 and baptised at Nettleton.
Mary Rickards, his wife’s aunt by marriage and John Bethell signed an obligation in July 1715.
On 6th February 1717/18 Mary Rickards, widow of the Reverend Joseph Rickards, married John Nickols at Nettleton. We know that she was the widow of Joseph Rickards from her second husband’s will of 1727. John Nicholls made his will on 21st October 1727. He was a yeoman of Nettleton and refers to land at Burton in Nettleton parish now in the possession of John Nicholls and John Bethell his tenant. This land had been granted to Joseph Rickards, the first husband of his wife, Mary.
Mary Nicholls made a PCC Will on the 20th September 1729 in which she mentions John Bethell of Nettleton, yeoman, and the balance of the £77 of a debt that he owed to the estate of her late husband John Nicholls. John was to pay back £50 to the estate and the residue of the debt was to be paid to his wife Mary Bethell.
On 9th April 1761 John Bethel, husbandman of Nettleton, made his will. He appointed his wife Mary as his executrix and left her his furniture, stock of cattle, implements of husbandry, money and goods. It was his intention that after her death their children would share his property. The children included John, Joseph and Sarah who were to share equally in his property after they had paid their siblings Abraham and Mary Buccle £5 each.
On 24th November 1761 the Rector, Daniel Mills, signed a note stating that Mary Bethel because of her great age, infirmities, and present sickness was unable to be the executrix and requesting that her son be appointed.
On 27th November 1761 John Bethel, her son, was appointed as administrator of his father’s estate. Joseph Hall, a carpenter of Nettleton, and William West, blacksmith of Nettleton (Great VI Grandfather or his son William), were also named.
Mary Bethel was buried on 16th May 1765 at Nettleton
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